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Public Library 

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Newspaper History 



by Gerald W. Johnson, Frank R. Kent, 
H. L. Mencken, and Hamilton Owens 


by H. L. Mencken 

by Oswald Garrison Vilkrd 

These are BOEZOI BOOKS, published by 
Mfred A. Knopf 



1842 to 1942 



B T 


Alfred A. Knopf: New York 

Copyright 1942 by The Plain Dealer Publishing Co. All rights 
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form with- 
out permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer 
who may quote brief passages or reproduce not more than three 
illustrations in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper. 
Manufactured in the United States of America. 


Published simultaneously in Canada by The Ryerson Press 




THE Cleveland Plain Dealer will be one hundred years old on 
January 7, 1942. 

It has seemed to the publishers only right and proper to make 
the birthday an occasion for rendering some public account of 
their stewardship, as much on behalf of the great and honorable 
company of gentlemen now gone to their rewards, who labored 
incessantly in this vineyard, as by way of apologia for those 
who still carry on. But a larger reason for telling this newspaper 
story is the fact that the future always depends upon the past, 
and out of this rich past we take hope for a still worthier future. 

The Plain Dealer has been singularly fortunate in having had 
on its staff an able, modest, and scholarly associate editor, 
Archer H. Shaw, 1 for thirty-odd years its chief editorial writer, 
who set himself long ago to make a study of the paper's history. 
For many years he envisioned as the crowning labor of his life 
the compilation of this narrative, which he has now completed. 

If the reader detects in the book any trace of partisanship in 
favor of the Plain Dealer, it grows out of the author's great love 
and fierce jealousy for the good name of the institution which 
has been his life. 

1 Mr. Shaw was born in North Ridgeville, Ohio, of pioneer Western 
Reserve stock. After being graduated from Oberlin College he entered 
immediately upon his lifelong career of journalism. For several years he 
served as a reporter on the Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, re- 
turning to his native Ohio in 1902, when he joined the staff of the Cleve- 
land Plain Dealer. During the ensuing forty years he has held many posi- 
tions on the Plain Dealer, but for the last thirty-two years he has been 
its chief editorial writer. In 1923 Mr. Shaw was given an honorary degree 
by his alma mater. To the great regret of his associates, he has announced 
that, with the completion of this book, he desires to retire from active 
newspaper work. 


Of the future no man can tell, but if one were permitted to 
dream a dream, it would be to the effect that 

Newspapers, like persons, differ as to character, motive, and 
temperament. The sum of all these qualities makes up a news- 
paper's individuality. We have all met men who bustle about 
the world proclaiming their own omniscience. They would tell 
us, if we let them, the answers to everything under the sun. From 
such, good Lord, deliver us. They are tiresome. 

And also there are individuals who have no opinions at all. 
These are a waste of time. 

We are devoutly thankful for the existence of the occasional 
seemly person who gladly allows others to exploit the fashion- 
able hysterias of the day, who often keeps his own counsel, but 
who is listened to when he speaks. 

May the Plain Dealer always emulate such a character as the 
last and may it never forget the principle on which its later 
career was built, to tell the news honestly and to restrict its 
opinions to the editorial page and the columnists. 

It grows ever more important that newspapers cultivate a 
sort of good manners because the American people, who guar- 
anteed the freedom of the press, can take it away. This has been 
done over much of the earth's surface. We shall enjoy the privi- 
lege of a free press as long as we do not abuse it. We daily 
pray for wisdom in this regard. 

We are sensible of the kindness with which the people of the 
Western Reserve have viewed the endeavors of the Plain Dealer 
for the past century. No newspaper in the world has enjoyed a 
finer, fairer, more progressive audience than ours. Without it 
J. W. Gray, W. W. Armstrong, L. E. Holden, and E. H. Baker, 
the big four of the Plain Dealers past, would have withered 
and died away. With it and with the favor of Providence, we 
shall advance confidently into the unknown future. 


Cleveland, Ohio 
January 1942 


THE GRAY REGIME (1842-1862) 

Chapter 1 CLEVELAND IN 1842: PAGE 3 

Streets were unpaved, muddy, and unlimited. There 
were no sewers; no garbage collection. The Square was 
fenced to keep out predatory livestock. 



The Advertiser, started in 1831, was badly run down and 
for sale. Gray, school-teacher and attorney, bought it, 
in partnership with his brother. The name they chose 
for the new paper became famous. 


Small of stature, peppery, -fearless, an unreconstructed 
Democrat to the hour of his death, he went through 
life making enemies who loved him. The other Grays. 


The English novelist, touring America, visits Cleveland 
and is affronted by an article he credits to the Plain 
Dealer. It was only a reprint, but it served. 


Newspapers now forgotten parade through the early 
history of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer swallowed some, 
and persuaded others that the game was not worth 
the candle to them. 

Chapter 6 ARTEMUS WARD: 62 

Humorist who could make Lincoln laugh even in war's 
darkest hours took his first steps toward world fame 
when he was " local " on the Plain Dealer. 


Folloioing the Jacksonian period, the Western Reserve 
was first Whig and then Republican. A Democratic 
Party organ found the going rough. 



Without railroads or wires, early editors found it difficult 
to get news for their columns. A late stagecoach 
meant an unhappy publisher. 


These editors were a jolly band of blackguards in 
their references to one another. Understandable 
superlatives punctuated their rhetoric. 



The Plain Dealer chooses to go with Douglas on the 
Lecompton issue, and the editor loses his postmaster ship. 
The National Democrat established to harass him, 


Gray, always on the look-out for talent, gathered on 
the staff many who gave the paper character and 
standing in the community and state. 


Dying in June 1862, Gray is lost to his paper at a time 
when his services were most needed. Had he lived, 
the story of the next few years would have been 
quite different. 


John S. Stephenson, administrator of the Gray estate, be- 
comes editor and publisher. Insisting that the war was a 
failure and Lincoln unfit, he antagonizes the community. 
Publication suspended. 



William W. Armstrong, Tiffin newspaper publisher and 
recently Ohio secretary of state, buys the wreckage 
of the paper, and publication is resumed. 


Peace finds Cleveland started on an era of rapid business 
growth, much of it founded on steel and oil. Commerce 
by rail and water. 


An old-school partisan editor who came in time to realize 


the error of arguing politics when his readers wanted 
news; city treasurer, postmaster, and Jacksonian. 


William D. Morgan and Frederick W, Green, in turn, 
own half interest in the Plain Dealer, but for most of 
the period Armstrong rules alone. Notable men on 
the staff. 


The Plain Dealer supports Lincoln's views on the war 
amendments. Greeley gives paper a " dish of crow" 
Sorrow with Tilden; triumph with Cleveland. 

Chapter 6 " OF CABBAGES AND KINGS ": 211 

Editors discuss a variety of things. A community sees a 
reflection of its own thinking in the local columns of its 
daily paper. 


The proprietor organizes a stock company, but retains 
control. The daily Globe. A morning edition is 
established, but soon disappears. 



The Armstrong group gives way to the Holdens. The 
assets of the city's oldest newspaper are later divided 
with the Leader. Morning, Sunday, and evening editions. 

Chapter 2 CLEVELAND IN 1885: 246 

The city is hard on the heels of Cincinnati in the race for 
population supremacy. Great business expansion in 
twenty years. 


Son of a Maine farmer, college professor, attorney, 
interested in mining and real estate, he takes control of 
the Plain Dealer and sees it prosper. 


Baker, under a broad-gauged contract with the owners, 
starts the paper on a rapid climb to dominance in its 
field. Charles E. Kennedy. 


After some hesitation the Plain Dealer supports the 
mayor. Through Baker it plays a great part in ending 
the ten-year battle and establishing the Tayler Plan. 


After sixty-three years the Evening Plain Dealer 
disappear s 9 abandoning the field where the Grays 
had so firmly anchored it. The Evening Post. 

Chapter 7 FIBE AND A NEW SITE: 304 

The Plain Dealer, a leader in the move to establish the 
Group Plan, settles down at a corner of it. Now 
occupies its tenth home in the heart of Cleveland. 


By its support of the constitution in 1912 the Plain Dealer 
wins fresh recognition as an organ of progressive 
opinion. Other policies. 

Chapter 9 DAVID AND GOLIATH: 321 

The steadily climbing Plain Dealer finally topples its 
great rival when the Cleveland Leader succumbs. 
The great circulation war. 


Scores of trained newspaper workers, most of them 
hardly known outside their own offices, devote their 
lives to Plain Dealer success. A few of them named. 


The Plain Dealer's greatest asset is the loyalty of those 
who get out the paper each day. The Old Timers. 
The Beneficial Association. 

Contrasts in methods of war reporting epitomize the 
progress of newspaper work in general. The guess 
gives way to the know. 


Giant presses whir through the night; typesetting from 
a keyboard; the matrix and the teletype; from woodcuts 
to wirephotos. 



Younger men in command. The radio. The Forest City 
Publishing Company. The Art Gravure Corporation 
of Ohio. 




An editorial which made newspaper history. After 
ninety-eight years the Plain Dealer supports for president 
Willkie, a candidate not a Democrat. 




INDEX follows page 402 



facing page 



THE FIRST Plain Dealer 20 

Plain Dealer HEADLINES 21 





"Plain Dealer IRONCLADS" 146 





A Plain Dealer FIRST PAGE 237 








THE FIRE OF 1908 308 

FOUR HOMES OF THE Plain Dealer 309 



THE Plain Dealer BUILDING 366 







The Gray Regime (1842-1862) 



Streets were unpaved, muddy, and unlighted. There were 

no sewers; no garbage collection. The Square was 

fenced to keep out predatory livestock. 

SUPERIOR STREET, sometimes called the widest city thorough- 
fare in America, was a dust bowl in summer and a mudhole 
after a rain. The Public Square, lined for the most part with 
modest private dwellings, consisted of four smaller squares, 
each enclosed with a fence in order to " prevent the depreda- 
tions of cattle and swine." Pigs rooted contentedly at the road- 
sides. Great canvas-covered freight wagons lumbered through 
the streets, drawn by two- or three-horse teams straining at 
their loads. 

Thus to a casual observer appeared the heart of Cleveland in 
1842. It had been forty-six years since Moses Cleaveland staked 
out the town at the mouth of the Cuyahoga and gave it his 
name. In 1814 the town had become a village. It had been a city, 
albeit a rather unpretentious one, since 1836. 

There were to be no waterworks for another dozen years; 
wells, springs, and cisterns, scattered through the community, 
were still considered adequate. There was, of course, no sewer 
system; many years later a mayor was to complain to the city 
council that the Cuyahoga was an open drain, threatening the 
health of the people. Garbage found a resting place on the fam- 
ily ash heap or some common dump. 



This may not be a flattering picture of a city which was to 
become in after years one of the most beautiful in America. It 
was not greatly different, however, from that of hundreds of 
other communities of like size and general character at this 
period in history. 1 

The first effort to pull Cleveland streets out of the mud was 
made in 1842 when part of Superior Street was planked. But as 
late as 1857 an editorial protest was made against the " droves 
of cattle which grazed on the Square." 2 That same year an ordi- 
nance was offered in the council c< to restrain the people's cows 
from running at large in the parks and front yards of the city/' 
but was defeated by votes from outlying wards. 3 

Such being the general condition of affairs, it was perhaps 
not surprising that the Cleveland town fathers had chosen to 
fence the separate sections of the Public Square in order to 
keep wandering livestock out and let the people enjoy what- 
ever attractions it offered. 

But if Cleveland was still a bit squalid in outward appear- 
ance, it had a brave heart and undaunted optimism. It was 
a serious-minded, law-respecting, even churchly community. 
Long before 1842 it had become evident that Moses Cleave- 
land's prophecy would come true and be exceeded; that the 
town he had founded on the Cuyahoga would some day become 
as populous as old Windham in Connecticut. By 1840, the fed- 
eral census showed, Cleveland had a population of 6,071, with 
another 1,577 across the river in Ohio City, ready to be taken 
in when the time seemed propitious to both communities. Cleve- 
land men thus believed themselves justified in. the confidence 
that they were helping to build a community which would some 
day rank among the important cities of the world. 

It was by no means an unknown region to which Cleaveland 

1 Compare Albert J. Beveridge's description of Springfield, Illinois, to 
which Abraham Lincoln returned after his one term in Congress. 

2 Plain Dealer, July 8, 1842. 

3 Plain Dealer, July 22. 


had led his surveying crew. Indeed, the mouth of the Cuyahoga 
River had attracted conspicuous attention years before the 
Revolutionary War. 4 

As early as 1765 Benjamin Franklin, studying the poor maps 
then available, pointed to this river as an advantageous location 
for a military post. George Washington recognized the practi- 
cability of a water route from Lake Erie by way of the Cuya- 
hoga, the Tuscarawas and the Muskingum Rivers to the Ohio, 
thence upstream to the mountains, and by portage to some 
stream emptying into the Atlantic. 

An even more significant recommendation of the region was 
given by the Reverend John Heckewelder, a Moravian mission- 
ary, who visited the mouth of the Cuyahoga ten years before 
the advent of the Connecticut surveyors, mapped and described 
its advantages as a place of permanent residence. One of the 
advantages of the place, he saw, lay in the fact that the delicious 
Lake Erie whitefish came to the mouth of the river to spawn, 
thus furnishing a valuable source of food. 5 

This place, he wrote, would some day become one of " great 
importance." The crookedness of the river, which later genera- 
tions of Clevelanders would spend millions of dollars and gal- 
lons of printer's ink to alleviate, were to the early commentators 
a point of advantage, since it afforded a maximum of dockage 
space. The six-hundred-foot ore-carriers of the future had no 
place in the missionary's crystal-reading. 

Thus when Cleaveland and his group arrived at the site of 
the future Buckeye metropolis, having stopped en route at Buf- 
falo to buy off Indian claims to land east of the Cuyahoga, the 
location had already been amply approved as one logically en- 
titled to a future. 

In 1842 Cleveland was midway in time between the open- 

4 The Cuyahoga was for many years part of the boundary line separat- 
ing the territory of the Six Nations from that of the Wyandot Confederacy. 

5 Persons familiar with the condition of the lower Cuyahoga in these 
later years will commend the fish for abandoning this habit. 


ing of the Ohio Canal and the coming of the first railroad, both 
of them to be remembered in later years as tremendous influ- 
ences in the development of the city. By now the city had out- 
stripped its earliest rivals and survived one major panic. When 
Cuyahoga was laid out as a county in 1807, Cleveland and New- 
burg disputed for the honor of being made the county seat. 
Newburg had been the larger community and, because of the 
malaria which plagued its neighbor at the mouth of the river, 
was drawing away some of the latter's population. But by 1840 
the city on the Cuyahoga had outdistanced its competitor. The 
wisdom of choosing Cleveland rather than Newburg as the 
county seat had been amply justified. All but the memory of 
their rivalry was entombed in 1873, when Newburg sought 
annexation and became an integral part of the larger munici- 

The panic of 1837, precipitated by Andrew Jackson's " specie 
circular," had hit the year-old city a terrific blow. Nearly every 
business establishment in the Western Reserve felt the impact, 
and many succumbed. Values crumbled and personal fortunes 
vanished in the night. It was, as one local historian described it, 
" a period of purging and of sobering," By 1842, however, the 
purging had been done, and the sobering was completed. The 
little city looked ahead. 

Ten years before the panic the Ohio Canal had been com- 
pleted between Cleveland and Akron, and on Independence 
Day 1827 the luxurious mule-drawn packet State of Ohio 
stepped gingerly down the forty-one locks between Akron and 
the lake and headed straight into a great community celebra- 
tion. Governor Trimble and a group of state officials were aboard 
the packet and participated in such a civic jubilation as every 
pioneer town loved to stage, Not until 1834 was the canal com- 
pleted through to the river at Portsmouth. 

What this new artery meant to the infant Cleveland is a story 
often told. The city's conspicuous growth from 1830 to 1850 


was due in large measure to the exchange of commerce made 
possible by this waterway. 

Transportation costs had been all but prohibitive. Prior to 
the building of the canal it cost $5 to convey a barrel of flour 
150 miles. The charge was $3 for carrying a cord of wood 20 
miles. Before the canals were built wheat was selling in the in- 
terior of Ohio for 20 to 30 cents a bushel After their completion 
it brought from 50 to 75 cents. 

Cleveland was, of course, the most important point on the 
canal to Portsmouth. Hither came the diverse products from 
down state. The city became a place of exchange for goods, as 
well as an exporting point for such articles of commerce as origi- 
nated in this section. In the year 1842 there were shipped out 
of here by canal 10,019,803 pounds of merchandise, salt and 
furniture long being principal articles of export. The canal 
brought prosperity to communities along its entire route, and 
Cleveland, being the biggest of them and at the head of navi- 
gation, shared generously in their good fortune. 

Voices of protest were heard in Cleveland as elsewhere when 
railroads were first projected. Three miles an hour on the canal 
and whatever speed of transit the varying condition of the land 
routes allowed seemed good enough to many who had seen 
the building of the waterway and its mounting importance to 
the state. One could travel by water the 309 miles to Ports- 
mouth on the Ohio River in 80 hours. By stagecoach to Wells- 
ville and thence by boat to Pittsburgh was a trip requiring only 
30 hours. What more could any community ask? 

The majority, however, doubtless foresaw the great advan- 
tage rails would bring to the city. Generous loans were voted 
to aid in bringing their lines to the Cuyahoga. Not long delayed 
was a recognition of the fact that the advent of the locomotive 
ranked with the arrival of Governor Trimble by packet as an 
event of major importance to the town Cleaveland had planted 
in this Connecticut of the West, But in 1842 this was all in the 


future. The coming railway center here could not be foreseen. 

Cleveland saw its first railroad train in 1849. Not till Febru- 
ary 1851 was a rail line opened all the way to Columbus. An- 
other Governor, surrounded by state officials, came this time to 
help the city celebrate another great achievement. He was 
Reuben Wood, Cuyahoga County Democrat and a man who in 
the following year came within one step of the presidency of 
the United States. The city's second railroad was the Cleve- 
land & Pittsburgh, which began operations in the following 

Caleb Atwater, author of the first comprehensive history of 
Ohio, declared that Cleveland had " gained its position ( of 
great prominence) from its natural advantages and from its 
intelligent, active, wealthy and enterprising population." 

The first of these natural advantages was its position on deep 
water at the mouth of a river navigable if at times boisterous 
and irresponsible. At about the time the canals were getting 
their stride as contributors to the commerce of the city, steam 
was displacing sails in the harbor. By 1834 the Herald was say- 
ing that often as many as fourteen steamboats arrived within 
forty-eight hours, all of them crowded with passengers. Though 
sails were to be an important part of the lake fleets for many 
years, their days of glory were already passing. 

The center of life in 1842, as it has been ever since, was the old 
Public Square, which had been laid out in the original plats of 
the city. Though these early maps do not indicate an intention 
to project Superior and Ontario Streets through the Square, 
they have always gone through, except for the decade between 
1857 and 1867. In 1828 the county had built its second Court- 
house in the southwest quarter of the Square, a solid brick 
structure with an Ionic belfry and dome. Around the corner on 
Champlain Street was the county jail of stone, with its three 

By 1837 aesthetic Clevelanders had grown weary of the un- 
kempt appearance of the Square. The council had it roughly 


graded and the two north sections fenced. Two years later the 
council ordered the two southern sections also fenced, " as soon 
as the county commissioners whitewash the court house." The 
commissioners whitewashed, and the council fenced! 

The ten-acre Square now had four separate sections, each 
neatly fenced, with Superior and Ontario Streets crossing in the 
center. This was the appearance of the Public Square in 1842. 
Fifteen years later the streets across the Square were closed and 
the four small parks became one large one, as had been repeat- 
edly advocated by the Plain Dealer. 6 In 1867, however, con- 
venience of travel overcame aesthetic compunctions, a court 
declared the closing of the streets ten years earlier had been il- 
legal, and down came all the fences. A contributing factor in 
the decision was said to be the embarrassing discovery that any 
opening in the fence small enough to bar marauding cattle was 
too small to permit the entrance of women wearing the then 
fashionable hoop skirts. 7 It would not do to keep the women 
out of the park. An edict of fashion let down the bars. 

The village of Cleveland, chartered by the legislature eight- 
een years after Cleaveland had driven its first stakes, was as 
modest geographically as it was in most other respects. Its 
territory ran easterly from the river to Erie Street (now East 
9th) and from the lake to Huron Street (now Huron Road). 
Two years later the president and trustees of the village laid 
out a few additional streets and extended the municipal bound- 

But, speaking generally, the city of 1842 comprised no more 
than would now be described as the " lower downtown." Busi- 
ness was confined to the area west of the Square. Except for 
the Old Stone Church, occupying its present site though with 
a different building, and the Cleveland House on the site of 
the present Hotel Cleveland, private homes for the most part 
surrounded the Square. On a portion of the land now covered 

6 June 15, 1852. 

7 Herald, March 22, 1865. 


by the Federal Building stood the one-story office building hous- 
ing the famous Ark, a literary and scientific group which con- 
tributed greatly to the intellectual standards of the early city. 
Residence districts stretched away to the south and east. 

Stagecoaches ran daily, starting and stopping at the Franklin 
Hotel on lower Superior. Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, 
Detroit, and Buffalo could be reached over roads of a kind then 
to be found in every frontier region in America. One of the first 
stage lines out of Cleveland ran to Painesville, and in 1818 the 
advertisements pointed out that one could leave the city any 
afternoon at four and reach the end of his thirty-mile trip at 
ten the next morning. Plank roads, with their toll gates, were 
not to come till 1849. 

Cleveland was a community of newspapers, and the people 
had a frontier town's interest in what was going on in a world 
immeasurably farther away in those days of slow communica- 
tions than it seems to the present generation. 

They were interested and probably duly indignant in 1842 
over the policies of John Tyler, the Virginian who had become 
the country's first accidental President on the death of Ohio's 
own William Henry Harrison in the preceding year. Whigs be- 
ing in the majority, they were better pleased with Governor 
Thomas Corwin, but again chagrined when the Democrat Wil- 
son Shannon defeated Corwin at the polls in October of this 
year. They were familiar with Daniel Webster's negotiation of 
the Ashburton Treaty, which settled the boundary line between 
Maine and the British territory to the north and was ratified in 
1842. They read, doubtless with some horror, being law-abiding 
folk themselves, of the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island, which 
occurred this same year; and they may have seen mention in 
the public prints of the advent of Tom Thumb, a new attraction 
at Barnum's in New York, 

Early Cleveland has been often described as a bit of New 
England transplanted beyond the mountains. In 1842 its com- 
munity life was still controlled largely by the same elements 


which had composed the original amalgam. Forty-six years had 
passed since Moses Cleaveland, the Connecticut militiaman, 
had come and gone, but the general character of the community 
had changed but little. 

A condition assigned to the people of New England by Allen 
Johnson, the historian, may be said to apply also to those of 
Cleveland and of much of the Western Reserve. They possessed, 
writes Johnson, a " greater degree of social solidarity than any 
other section of the Union. Descended from English stock, im- 
bued with common religious and political traditions . . . they 
cherished, as Jefferson expressed it, a sort of family pride which 
existed nowhere else between the people of the different states." 

So marked, indeed, was the sympathy between the old New 
England and this Ohio section of it that some of the early Cleve- 
land papers regularly printed marriage and death notices from 
those states, as containing news of local interest. 

The men and women of Cleveland in 1842 had " family 
pride " as well as community pride, and a great fund of self- 
confidence. They felt their city was on the way to greatness, 
and they intended to leave nothing undone to help it achieve 
what to them was a manifest destiny. 



The Advertiser, started in 1831 y was badly run down and 

for sale. Gray, school teacher and attorney, bought 

it y in partnership with his brother. The name 

they chose for the new paper 

became famous. 

INTO this transplanted New England community, clustering 
about its central square, after the manner of its kind, the weekly 
Plain Dealer made its unassuming entrance on January 7, 1842. 

It could not be said that Cleveland needed another news- 
paper, if population and the number already in existence fur- 
nished the basis of judgment. By any modern standard, the city 
already had enough. In fact, the preceding year, 1841, had been 
particularly fruitful in the number of new papers started. 

Since 1819 the Herald had been a regular feature of Cleve- 
land life. It had become the city's first daily in 1835. The daily 
morning News had been started in 1841, but proved to be short- 
lived. To greet the first issue of the Plain Dealer, also, on that 
January day a century ago, was the Eagle-Eyed News Catcher, 
a daily started the year before which was also to have a short 
career. It is remembered now chiefly because of its resounding 
name. The Morning Mercury was likewise in the field to resist 
any aggressiveness the new weekly might show. The Mercury 
was also of the 1841 vintage, but would scarcely live out the 
year. The Commercial Intelligencer was a veteran in compari- 


son with some of these competitors. It dated back to 1838 and 
was a Whig daily devoutly dedicated to the cause of Henry 
Clay. The Cleveland Gatherer, weekly, lived from 1841 to 1843. 

It can be imagined with what explosions of pitying scorn 
the advent of the little weekly Plain Dealer was greeted along 
the local newspaper row of that day. Yet the newcomer was 
destined to outlive not only all of the skeptical competitors 
which attended its birth but many other rivals which were to 
spring into the competition in later years. 

There are various ways of computing a newspaper's age, and 
they have been illustrated in several recent studies of success- 
ful American journals. The Plain Dealer calls itself one hundred 
years old in 1942. It might, by another method of reckoning, 
have claimed this distinction as long ago as 1919* For 1819 was 
the year of the Herald's establishment, and the Plain Dealer 
participated with the Leader in buying the Herald in 1885. 
The life of the Plain Dealer might, therefore, be considered to 
have extended back in an unbroken line to the birth of the 

By another process of reasoning, the Plain Dealer could claim 
to have finished its first century in 1927, because in 1827 the 
Independent News-Letter was started. And in 1832 that paper 
was rechristened the Cleveland Advertiser. And in 1842 the 
Advertiser became the Plain Dealer. 

The Plain Dealer is more modest in its pretensions. It ob- 
serves its hundredth birthday not in 1919 or in 1927 but in 
January 1942 because at that time it completes a full hundred 
years under the exact name it adopted in the beginning. It was 
the Plain Dealer when its first issue appeared in January 1842. 
It remains the Plain Dealer in January 1942. The centenary is 
thus of a name as well as of the institution it designates. 

The Independent News-Letter was printed by David B. Me- 
Lain, " four doors west of the Franklin House." It was Demo- 
cratic in politics, passed through various ownerships, and in 
1831 became the property of Henry Bolles and Madison Kelley, 


who called themselves " job and book printers, bookbinders and 
book sellers." They at once renamed the paper. 

Thus on January 6, 1831 appeared the first issue of the Cleve- 
land Advertiser. A weekly at first, it was made a daily five years 
later. In their salutatory Bolles and Kelley were more frank 
than many in their position have been. " We do not pretend to 
our readers/' they declared, " that the furtherance of their weal 
is the sole motive that operates upon us we claim no exemp- 
tion from the influence of that stimulus which operates more 
extensively than any other on the minds and muscles of men 
that of gain but its gratification we shall not ask, unless for 
a fair equivalent/* 

The " stimulus/' it seems, proved disappointing. At the end 
of the first year the editor complained that "the publishers 
have not received that extensive patronage that might be 
deemed an adequate recompense for their trouble and ex- 
penses." The paper changed hands several times, left the daily 
for the weekly field, gradually veered away from the Whigs 
in the direction of Jacksonian Democracy, and finally near the 
beginning of 1841 came into the control of Calvin Hall, who 
had had experience as a newspaper publisher at Elyria. 

But failure continued to dog the footsteps of the Advertiser. 
By the end of 1841 the sheriff had several times camped on the 
doorstep. The paper needed an " angel/' or at least a substantial 
blood transfusion. 

The situation, however it be described, was met by Admiral 
Nelson and Joseph William Gray, brothers and comparative 
newcomers to Cleveland. "J. W./' as the younger man pre- 
ferred to be called, had been a school-teacher and was now 
an attorney. He was twenty-eight years old and his brother ten 
years his senior. 

The Grays bought what was left of the Advertiser at the end 
of 1841. Under the old name it never appeared again. The next 
issue of the weekly came out with a new type dress and a new 
name the Plain Dealer under the proprietorship of A. N, 


and J. W. Gray, on the seventh day of the new year. It was an 
equal partnership, but, by agreement, the younger brother as- 
sumed the editorial direction and the elder the business man- 
agement of the little venture in journalism. 

Custom required a salutatory and a prospectus. Probably 
little heeded at the time, they make interesting reading after 
a century: 


In presenting ourselves before the public as the conductor of a 
political journal, we make our bow editorial with such grace as nature 
may have scantily endowed us, and upon which chance and fortune 
may have led us to improve. 

The vocation is an arduous one, not confined to the mere drudgery 
of chronicling events, but requiring us to maintain principles in- 
vestigate measures expose the effects of erroneous public conduct 
tear off the veil in which sophistry conceals its object, and assist 
the cause of truth with every argument that reason can furnish, and 
every embellishment that fancy can afford. To discharge such high 
and important duties to the public an editor should have a mind 
filled with a great variety of human learning and a steady command 
of all its stores. He should have a head cool, clear and benevolent; a 
nice sense of justice; an inflexible regard for truth; honesty that no 
temptation could corrupt; intrepidity that no danger could intimi- 
date; an independence superior to every consideration of interest, 
enmity or friendship. 

This may appear a fancy sketch, but nevertheless it is what we 
shall aim to be. 

Every lawyer cannot be a Blackstone or a Kent, nor every news- 
paper editor a Bryant or a Bennett; but it is in the power of everyone 
to be honest and industrious; and the stupid fool who cannot, in 
this age of thrilling events " throw some fire into his writings ought 
to throw his writings into the fire." 

We see the mountain of difficulty before us, and with undaunted 
step we attempt its fearful height, hoping ere long to plant our stand- 
ard upon its summit, and unfurl the banner of victory, inscribed 
" Application, Industry and Perseverance." 

If ever ambition fired our brain, or quickened our pulsation, it was 
in this way to beguile brief existence, and render some small service 
unto our fellow-men. Although our past course of life would indicate 


no such intention, having first qualified for a profession and, lastly, 
studied the law, still from our earliest recollections we have loved and 
sought the * excitement of composition " and often in dreams and 
waking hours, when the imagination has been left to its own native 
freedom, have fancied ourselves seated on the throne editorial; with 
pen in hand, guided by some mysterious influences, sketching the 
events of the times, the character of man and the revolution of na- 
tions. Time will test the nature of our abilities and from a charitable 
public we have much to hope. 

We shall endeavor to make the PLAIN DEALER what its name im- 
ports, the fearless advocate of truth, of liberty in faith, liberty in 
government, liberty in trade, not forgetting that principle in the 
philosophy of language which teaches the relation which words have 
to things. 


We offer no apology for changing the name of this paper, but the 
Scripture command " Put not new wine into old bottles, lest they 
This paper is now in the hands of a new editor, with new publish- 
ers and proprietors. It is soon to be printed on new type and fur- 
nished with new exchanges and correspondents and we hope with 
new patrons also. This is the " new wine," that would burst the old 
Advertiser and not leave a trace of its well-earned fame. 

We think the good taste of our readers will sanction the modest 
selection we have made. Had we called it the TORPEDO timid ladies 
never would have touched it. Had we called it the TRUTH TELLER 
no one would believe a word in it! Had we called it the THUNDER 
DEALER or LIGHTNING SPITTER it would have blown Uncle Sam's 
mail bags sky high. But our democracy and modesty suggest the only 
name that befits the occasion, the PLAIN DEALER. 


This week we publish our paper, or rather allow it to escape, under 
peculiar embarrassments. Called from a professional business to take 

1 Winston Churchill, Britain's future Prime Minister and war leader, 
was one day driving past the Plain Dealer Building, in company with 
L. E. Holden. " Oh, there's the Cleveland Plain Dealer" said the English- 
man. " I think that by all odds, the Plain Dealer has the best newspaper 
name of any in the world." The future Prime Minister of England was on 
a lecture tour of American cities. 


charge of the editorial department with only three days notice, we 
have in so short a time hardly got the hang of the office, much less 
the hang of an editorial pen. We found our exchanges as barren of 
interest as our head was of thought, and between them both we 
give our readers what in fanners' language is called a " picked up 
meal/' But bear with us until we get our new type, press, etc. and 
our exchange list regulated and we will give you as fair a sheet as 
it is in the power of mechanism to produce, filled with as choice mat- 
ter as the best exchanges and our poor head can furnish. 

In the same issue appeared also the customary outline of 
policies to be pursued by the new paper, under the caption: 


The proprietors of this paper, having purchased of the late pub- 
lishers of the Cleveland Advertiser their entire interest to that paper, 
have thought it expedient to discontinue the Advertiser altogether 
and to issue a new weekly, devoted to Politics, Agriculture, Com- 
merce, the Mechanic Arts, Foreign and Domestic Intelligence. 

Under this head we adopt for our motto the sentiments of one 

" Whose silvery locks and trembling limbs 
No more the tempest braves/* 

but whose morning and evening prayer for his country's welfare 
ascends from the Hermitage. Said he: " It is not in splendid govern- 
ment, supported by powerful monopolies and aristocratic establish- 
ments, that the people will find happiness or their liberties protected, 
but in a plain system devoid of pomp, protecting all and granting 
favors to none; dispensing its blessings like the dews of Heaven, un- 
seen and unfelt save in the freshness and beauty they contribute to 

It will ever be our object to contest, inch by inch, the encroach- 
ments of corporate privileges which the cupidity of the rich en- 
genders to the injury of the poor, and show 

* How wide the limits stand 
Between a splendid and a happy land *; 


to war with every species of legislation that has a tendency to 
strengthen the natural differences among men, and to show that the 
spirit of true wisdom in human affairs as well as divine " acts not by 


That now the great desideratum of American legislation is an ad 
valorem tariff and a revenue reduced to the actual expenditures of 
government; that in the collection and disbursement of the public 
monies we see no necessity for its being FINGERED, for any purpose 
whatever, by the nabobs of England or the scrip nobility of our own 
land, that the same should be collected in the constitutional coin of 
the United States and paid out in the same. 

THE PLAIN DEALER claims to belong to the great Democratic party 
of this country; but it will never deserve to be considered a strict 
party paper in the degrading sense in which that phrase is used. 

We claim the right, and shall exercise it, too, on all proper occa- 
sions of ABSOLUTE FREEDOM OF DISCUSSION. We hold that there is no 
subject whatever interdicted from investigation and comment; and 
that we are under no obligation, political or otherwise, to refrain 
from a full and candid expression of opinion as to the manifold evils 
inflicted on our country by any party measure, whether Whig or 

A few years later, in a review of progress, Gray described 
the condition into which the Advertiser had sunk before its 
sale and disappearance: 

When we purchased the old Advertiser we found it in a perfectly 
helpless and prostrate condition. Under the management of Mr. 
Spencer it had fairly " run itself into the ground." No one patronized 
it because they wanted to, it contained but little reading and that of 
a very stale kind, it was miserably printed on poor paper and with 
worse type, and was in fact a hiss and byword among its professed 
friends. ... Of course, a paper without patronage must put its pub- 
lisher in debt, and this was emphatically the case with the Advertiser. 
It had been redeemed from executions and sheriff sales several times 
by a few of its friends in this city and was for some years an object 
of Democratic charity and a laughing stock for Whigs. We state 
these facts as a matter of history known to everyone at the time and 
for the purpose of having them fresh in memory at this particular 
time. . . . 


No feature of the infant Plain Dealer excited more conjecture 
than did its choice of name. 2 The editor's own declaration on 
the subject was not so much an explanation as an invitation to 
further wonderment. 

" Plaindealing " and " plaindealer," as common English 
words, have always been more familiarly employed in the Brit- 
ish Isles than in America. Shakespeare made use of them re- 
peatedly. The dramatist William Wycherley wrote a play called 
The Plain Dealer which, produced probably in 1674 and pub- 
lished in 1677, attracted wide attention. 

So handy and expressive a title could not long be neglected 
in other fields. In 1712 a publication named the Plain Dealer 
was started in London, but only a few issues appeared. Bos- 
well, in his great biography of Samuel Johnson, mentions an- 
other Plain Dealer, an English monthly devoted to " select es- 
says on several curious subjects." The last number appeared in 
1725. It had a successor of the same name and similar character, 
which appeared in 1763, but soon went the way of the rest. 

The trail comes nearer as one recalls the establishment in 
New York in 1836 of a brand-new Plain Dealer by William Leg- 
gett, who had been one of the editors and a part owner of the 
New York Evening Post. This, too, was a weekly and was dedi- 
cated to the advocacy of " equal rights/* It was also pro- Jackson, 
anti-bank and anti-slavery. It proved to be another publication 
destined to an early grave, but that its teachings made an im- 
pression on J. W. Gray there is plenty of evidence in the columns 
of the newly established Cleveland paper. Leggett died in 1839, 
and Gray often paid tribute to his qualities as a writer and po- 

2 Woodrow Wilson used to say he could tell whether a White House 
visitor came from the vicinity of Cleveland or elsewhere by the way he 
pronounced the name of the Cleveland paper which supported him 
throughout his public career. A Clevelander, he observed, pronounced 
the name as if it were one word and accented the first syllable. A non- 
Clevelander made two words of it, accenting the first syllable of the second 


litical thinker. 3 This New York Plain Dealer had been started 
the same year that Gray left St. Lawrence County, New York, 
to begin life in Cleveland. 

Thus, doubtless, may be explained Gray's choice of the par- 
ticular " new bottle " referred to in his 1842 salutatory. 

So far as the record shows, the Plain Dealer of the Grays was 
the first general newspaper of this name. Since then the name 
has been adopted by papers in various parts of the United 
States and Canada. In some instances the inspiration stems 
directly and admittedly from the Cleveland paper. Some of 
these ventures never attained adult life. Some were merged 
with other publications and thus lost their identity/ 

Except for its challenging name and its presumption, the 
Cleveland Plain Dealer had at the beginning little to distin- 
guish it from other ambitious ventures of the same kind. The 
Grays had little money. They had been in the city only a short 
time. There were devoted Democrats in the community, how- 
ever, who felt the need of a sound party organ and had learned 
to have confidence in J. W. Gray. His recent presence as a 
student in the law office of Henry B. Payne, future United 
States Senator, and Hiram V. Willson, later federal judge in 
this district, perhaps gave him some standing as a man of re- 
liability. Harvey Rice was another prominent Democrat ready 
to give the new paper his influential blessing. 

The editor's apology for the appearance of his first issue was 
probably justified. " Called from a professional business to take 
charge of the editorial department with only three days notice," 
Gray was at least meticulous enough to delay the hour of publi- 
cation until the jack-knife artist who had whittled out the head- 
ing for the paper could do a better job. 

3 April 15, 1845, for instance. 

4 Some, however, remain to carry the banner of progress. One is the 
W abash (Indiana) Plain Dealer. Another is the St. Lawrence Plaindealer 
at Canton, New York. Others of the family still alive are the St. James 
(Minnesota) Plaindealer, "Youngstown (Alberta) Plaindealer, Souris 
(Manitoba) Plain Dealer. Quite probably this list is not complete. 



3:~. . ^f>." _-- 


Its date was January 7, 1842, The modest cornerstone of a great enterprise. 

f wl t',> ^'.rtT'V'V.^tJl^^ -." " ' l)j! - ! ''-- 


For a time the Plain Dealer abandoned the block type heading familiar to generations of readers f 
to indulge in extravagances like the above. 



The deadline indicates the story. The tragedy was covered by a staff homed in an abandoned 
livery stable. 


With four pages of six columns each, the new-born journal 
offered about everything except the things a modern newspaper 
reader would require. Its type was large, open-faced bourgeois, 
mostly leaded. There was a little brevier and a very little min- 
ion, the latter largely for legal advertising. The first page was 
devoted to miscellany, headed by a " new poem by Mrs. Si- 
gourney." 5 The second page was devoted in large part to news 
from the state legislature and concerned canal affairs. Some 
canal officials, it appears, were due for investigation on charges 
that they had diverted waterway revenues to personal uses. 

On the editorial side, the new weekly urged that the Demo- 
crat Wilson Shannon be again chosen governor, having been 
defeated for re-election in 1840 by the Whig Tom Corwin. This 
proved to be prophecy as well as advocacy, for in the fall of 
this year 1842 Shannon in fact defeated Corwin. Other edi- 
torial consideration was given to the Locofocos and the Barn- 
burners. Attention was called to the fact that the Abolitionists 6 
had held a state convention at Warren and put Leister King 
" on the track for governor." 

Of the twenty-four columns of this first Plain Dealer,, only 
two were given to what could properly be called news, and the 
latest date any of it bore was December 29. This was a day of 
wildcat banking and one precious column was devoted to tables 
showing what the notes of individual banks were worth at the 
moment. Bank paper from one Ohio city was quoted at sixty 
per cent discount. Several small-town banks in the state were 
labeled " broke." One half -column was enough to cover all the 
commercial transactions of the city. Another half-column was 
given to activities of the harbor. Lumber was entering the port 
in great quantities; whisky, wheat, and salt comprised much of 
the outgoing volume of commerce. 

5 Mrs. Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865) lived at Hartford, 
Connecticut. She wrote much popular verse and was author of many 
volumes of prose and poetry. 

6 Otherwise the Liberty Party. 


The editor expressed a willingness to accept country produce 
in payment of subscriptions, but he preferred cash since the 
money could be turned back into the paper for its improve- 
ment. 7 

Such was the first issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Any- 
one would have been justified in saying that the infant bore 
no particular promise; that in all probability this would prove 
to be just another shortlived, profitless adventure in printer's 

Such a pessimistic forecast could have been founded only on 
ignorance of the courage and the driving force of Joseph Wil- 
liam Gray. 

7 The Independent News-Letter advertised (November 22, 1829) 
that it would accept fifty pounds of rags for one year's subscription. At a 
later date (December 29, 1829) it named fourteen articles of trade which 
it would take for " sums now due " the paper. 



Small of stature, peppery, fearless, an unreconstructed 

Democrat to the hour of his death, he went through 

life making enemies who loved him. 

The other Grays. 

AN UNDERSIZED man, bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, in- 
dustrious, versatile, a master of wit; daring, original, one who 
loved to mingle with people in the market places, sarcastic when 
he thought the occasion warranted; kindly in his personal re- 
lations, always loyal to his friends and his principles such a 
person was Joseph William Gray, who with Admiral Nelson 
Gray, an elder brother, brought the Cleveland Plain Dealer into 
existence on that early January day one hundred years ago. 

The Grays were Scotch-Irish, which fact, in the case of J. W. 
at least, explains a good deal. Their first American ancestor was 
John Gray who migrated to America in 1718 from Londonderry, 
Ireland. He was one of a party of seven hundred or more who 
came to Boston, many of them soon settling in Worcester, Mas- 
sachusetts. Though they came from Ireland, their forebears are 
believed to have been Scots who fled from Argyleshire in 1606 
to escape religious persecution. 

This original Gray in America joined the group which came 
on west to Worcester. 1 John was a man of many sons, and the 

1 Dr. Asa Gray, distinguished American botanist, was a descendant of 
the family branch which remained at Worcester. His great-great-grand- 


seventh of them, James, went to Vermont. There James, follow- 
ing the family pattern, himself became father of seven children. 
One of the seven was given the name Uel. Uel married Eliza- 
beth Case at Bridport, Vermont, January 28, 1796, and they 
gave the world ten children. 

Among the ten were the three Grays identified with the 
Plain Dealer: two of them as co-founders of the weekly in 1842; 
one of the two as founder of the daily in 1845 and its head till 
his death in 1862; and the third Nicholas A. Gray as associ- 
ate editor, business representative, and at various times Wash- 
ington and Columbus correspondent. Of the three J. W., though 
the youngest, was undisputed chief. 

By the end of the century a son 2 and two daughters s had 
been born to Uel and Elizabeth. Not long thereafter the family 
joined a migration to the west to begin life over again at Madrid, 
St. Lawrence County, New York. The two daughters were fated 
to a tragic end. On March 4, 1806 the Gray home caught fire 
and, while neighbors and friends stood by in frantic helpless- 
ness, the girls, one seven and the other six years old, were 
burned to death. 

Another daughter of Uel and Elizabeth was Beulah Gray who 
married Zina Earl Hepburn at Madrid, August 30, 1829. They 
became parents of A. Barton Hepburn, 4 remembered now as 
Comptroller of the Currency under Benjamin Harrison. He was 
a banker and millionaire of New York. 

The site of the Gray home and of the tragic fire which 
destroyed it is still called in Madrid " Gray's Hill"; it is 

father was the Plain Dealer Grays* great-grandfather. Stopping in Cleve- 
land on his way west in 1838, Dr. Gray wrote a friend back east that " the 
people show some signs of civilization; they eat ice cream which is sold 
in many places," 

2 Ransom, born January 1, 1797. 

8 Ruth, born March 24, 1799; Lavina, born December 29, 1800. 

4 Mr. Hepburn built and endowed seven community libraries and 
gave them to as many towns in St. Lawrence County. One of them is at 
Madrid, early home of the Grays. 


about three quarters of a mile southwest of the center of the 

St. Lawrence County in its early days was indebted to Ver- 
mont for many of its settlers. As this rich land became available 
through the extinction of Indian claims, its fame spread across 
Lake Champlain, and " Westward ho! " became a popular cry 
for men and women weary of wresting sustenance from Ver- 
mont's reluctant soil. The so-called " proprietors " of the county 
were almost exclusively New York City men, including Gou- 
verneur Morris, the Ogdens, and the Clarksons, whose memory 
is perpetuated in various St. Lawrence County place names. 

But while the proprietors were New Yorkers, the actual set- 
tlers came in large numbers from Vermont. Their usual route 
lay across Lake Champlain, through what were then known as 
the Chateaugay Woods and thence either by Indian trails or 
by the St. Lawrence River to the promised land. By the latter 
route, it appears, came the Grays. 

These particular immigrants from Bridport, however, proved 
at first unstable settlers. The Grays remained only a few years 
at Madrid, then returned to Vermont; whence after a while 
they came back to the St. Lawrence County village to stay. Of 
the three Plain Dealer Grays, Admiral Nelson was born at Brid- 
port, February 5, 1803, Nicholas A. at Madrid, March 28, 1809, 
and J. W. at Bridport August 5, 1813. 

This section of New York stretching along the St. Lawrence 
River was particularly open to hostile aggression in the War 
of 1812. Incursions from Canada gave the inhabitants every 
reason to know that war was what Sherman would call it many 
years later. 

Many transplanted Vermonters thought it wise under the 
circumstances to retrace their steps back toward the Green 
Mountains. The Grays, inspired in part, perhaps, by the tragic 
burning of their home, joined this counter-migration. But, once 
the war was over, the fertile acres of the St. Lawrence country 
beckoned them again. Uel was to die at Madrid in 1823. Eliza- 


beth lived until 1838, dying at the home of her son A. N. Gray 
in Cleveland. 

The Grays' second coming to Madrid was in the fall of 1813, 
when J. W. was three months old. On the father's death, ten 
years later, the family was broken up. J. W. did farm work and 
took what schooling was available. Most of the time he made 
his home in the family of Ashabel Wright, a cousin of Silas 
Wright, statesman and for many years a Democratic party 
leader in the state. 5 The circumstance was to have a bearing on 
the course of political thinking in the Western Reserve in the 
years to come. 

At Potsdam, nine miles from Madrid, the St. Lawrence Acad- 
emy had been established in 1816. There for twelve dollars a 
year in tuition young men could get such education as northern 
New York then afforded. And there in 1835 we find enrolled 
among students preparing to teach, Joseph W. Gray and his 
brother, known to the archives of the academy as Ammi N. 
Gray but later to be called Nicholas A. or, more commonly, 
N. A. After a useful career of more than half a century, the 
academy passed out of existence in 1869, being then absorbed 
into a state normal school. 

There is no evidence that the older brother was graduated 
from the academy, but J. W. was one of three young men who 
in 1836 were given diplomas to teach. The citation from the 
record is that the three, " having, previous to the establishment 
of the department, completed a part of the studies included 
in the course, have since completed the whole course and, hav- 
ing been found on due examination before the teachers and trus- 
tees duly qualified, have received full diplomas." 

This indicates both the purpose these two Grays had in mind 
in coming to Cleveland, and the training they had to carry out 
the purpose. They came, of course, to teach school. N. A. had 
come in 1835 and J. W. one year later, after receiving his di- 

5 Ashabel Wright was a fourth cousin of Silas, He emigrated from 
Vermont (probably Weybridge) to Bucks Bridge in 1805. 


ploma at Potsdam. A. N. Gray, the other brother, had preceded 
both of them, arriving in 1833, bent not on teaching, but per- 
haps on building a few schools, for he was a carpenter, ambi- 
tious to become a contractor. 

The younger Gray's first teaching job was in the academy 
on St. Clair Street. He taught also in the old Rockwell School. 
In 1838 he was conducting classes in a private school at Auburn, 
Geauga County. 6 

The three brothers together started an academy on Euclid 
Avenue just west of Erie Street (now East 9th) to prepare 
young men for college. It proved, however, to be a shortlived 

J. W.'s mind was soon turning from school-teaching to law, 
and he entered as a student the office of Henry B. Payne and 
Hiram V. Willson, one a future United States Senator and the 
other a future federal judge, as has been said. That was long 
before the popularity of law schools or the fixing of any mini- 
mum period of study for budding Blacks tones. In about one 
year Gray was duly certified as fitted for the practice of law, 
and up went his modest shingle. 

But if Gray had soon found himself but little interested in 
teaching, he was now to find himself as little entranced with the 
law. He practiced a short time in Michigan and then returned to 
Cleveland. Always politically minded, he found it more to his 
taste to write partisan articles for the Cleveland Advertiser 
than to sit and wait for clients to discover the existence of this 
newly licensed attorney and to bring him some business. 

The Advertiser was then nearing its end, in trouble as usual, 
and it was not long before the Advertiser 9 s alert contributor con- 
ceived the idea of becoming its owner. Forming a partnership 
with his older brother, Admiral Nelson, he consummated the 

6 A Geauga County historian, years later, discussing the school at 
Auburn, paid Gray this doubtful compliment: " Martha Stone and Marian 
Ensign taught with a good deal of credit. J. W. Gray, afterward editor of 
the Plain Dealer, taught with some credit." 


deal for the purchase of the paper. The Advertiser disappeared 
overnight and the Plain Dealer sprang from its ashes. 

Gray later said that he and his brother had paid $1,050 for the 
property acquired. Into the Plain Dealer's original equipment 
went also some of the material of the Cleveland Whig, which 
had recently kept a tryst with the undertaker. 

The advent of the weekly Plain Dealer to become a daily in 
three years speedily introduced to the people of Cleveland a 
new species of editor. Gray loved a fight. The situation here in- 
vited a continuous one. It would probably have been difficult 
to find another place at the moment as unpropitious for the 
establishment of a Democratic newspaper as was Cleveland a 
hundred years ago. Politically the cards seemed stacked against 
him. How Gray met the situation and won a measure of success 
against the odds is part of the story of the Plain Dealer. 

Never averse to calling himself a politician, Gray found con- 
tinuing pleasure in party activities. Once, after the election of 
1844, which put a Democrat in the White House, Gray saw " the 
opportunity of moderating the political tone of this paper and 
making it, what better accords with our tastes and we believe 
the tastes of our readers generally, a more literary and less po- 
litical journal." 7 

It seems to have been merely a passing whim, however. Ha- 
bitually a member of the county central committee, Gray was 
often its chairman. In these days he might have been called a 
party boss. In 1851 the Plain Dealer announced that anyone 
attending the state Democratic convention at Columbus could 
ride on the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad at three- 
quarters fare if he presented a certificate from Gray. 

Sometimes, in spite of the editor's habitual resilience of spirit, 
the job palled. Then he went to public confessional and laid 
the case before his readers. " The life of an editor," he confessed, 
" is, literally speaking, the dragging out of a miserable existence 
for the benefit of the people." Gray concluded his outline of 

7 January 22, 1845. 


editorial philosophy by reminding his readers that " it is not 
right to stop your subscription before you have settled for ar- 

rears. 8 

At the beginning of 1852 the Plain Dealer widened its page 
from seven to eight columns. Gray says he might be inclined 
to boast of his paper's progress, except that " it is well-known 
that modesty is the prevailing characteristic of our disposition/' 9 

Suits for libel were a regular portion of an aggressive editor's 
lot. Gray fought them and extracted amusement from them 
when he could. He capitalized on them in publicizing his paper. 
Postmaster Spencer sued for libel, but lost. In 1852 Gray and 
Harris of the Herald were indicted for aiding a lottery promo- 
tion, but both indictments were nolled. 

A particular target for Plain Dealer gibes was Horace Greeley, 
whose New "York Tribune reputedly circulated more copies in 
the Western Reserve than did the Plain Dealer itself. Following 
two especially sulphuric attacks, Greeley brought suit against 
Gray in 1857, asking damages " in money only " in the amount 
of ten thousand dollars. 

When notified of the suit, Gray wrote : " Our first impulse was 
to give a check for the amount but, recovering from our trepi- 
dation a little, we recollected that we, like most Democratic 
printers, had not a single dollar in the bank. . . . How Horace 
supposed he could ever get so much money as that out of any 
Democratic editor, especially one publishing a National Demo- 
cratic paper in the Connecticut Western Reserve, is as much a 
mystery to us as the Rochester Knockings. . . .** 

In the course of a long editorial Gray rehearses the statements 
on which the libel is based, and continues: 

There, reader, is the case before you as it appears on record. TEN 
THOUSAND DOLLARS in ** money only" is wanted to make good the 
damaged reputation of a political editor. What a tearing big hole 
in an incredible short space of time our pen did make in the " pheel- 

8 July 19, 1850. 

9 January 14, 1852. 


inks " of this feathered philosopher. We plead " amazement " and 
" go to the country " on that issue. That we possess such powers of 
mischief with our unpracticed, unpretending pen is " amazing " in- 
deed. That Horace Greeley . . . should presume to have Ten Thou- 
sand Dollars' worth of character left is still more ** amazing/* . . . 

After a series of answers, demurrers, amended petitions, and 
continuations the case was finally settled on February 2, 1859, 
with each side paying its own costs. Instead of the asked-for 
$10,000, the cost to Gray was $3.50! 

Greeley 's attitude toward Gray was continuously one of 
rather amused contempt. He was head of a great and influential 
newspaper with a nation-wide circulation. Gray found delight 
in ridiculing the " feathered philosopher " and trying to punc- 
ture his pompousness. The issue between them continued lively 
as long as Gray lived. 

Greeley had the last laugh on the Plain Dealer, however, in 
1872, ten years after Gray's death, when the newspaper which 
had poked endless fun at the Tribune man swung into line and 
supported him for president of the United States. The pull of 
party regularity was stronger than a personal pique handed 
down to an editorial successor. 

Two great Democrats of national prominence contributed 
greatly to the molding of J. W. Gray's political thinking. They 
were Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Silas Wright of New 
York. Gray was a personal friend of each of them. From the 
fountain of their Democratic faith Gray drank deeply and to it 
he continued faithful. 

A curious parallel exists between the lives of Gray and Doug- 
las. They were bom in adjoining Vermont counties within four 
months of each other; Douglas at Brandon, Rutland County, in 
April 1813, and Gray at Bridport, Addison County, four months 
later. Both went to Cleveland, seeking broader horizons, and 
both studied law there. Douglas arrived in 1833 and entered the 
law office of Sherlock J. Andrews; Gray arrived three years 
later and read law in the offices of Payne and Willson. 


At this point their physical paths separated, but not their 
thinking. After three months in Cleveland, Douglas took a canal 
packet to Portsmouth and pushed on westward; Gray spent the 
rest of his life there. Douglas pinned his political philosophy to 
the principle of Popular Sovereignty; Gray advocated the pol- 
icy in the columns of his paper. Douglas ran for president against 
Lincoln, and Gray supported him, but after the outbreak of the 
Rebellion both gave full-hearted support to Lincoln's efforts 
to suppress it. Finally, Douglas and Gray died, as they had been 
born, within a year of each other; Douglas in June 1861, and 
Gray in May 1862. 

In the early columns of the Plain Dealer appear repeated 
testimonials to the influence of Silas Wright on J. W. Gray. 
Wright, though a native of Massachusetts, had been taken to 
Vermont as an infant and was graduated from Middlebury 
Academy. One of Gray's famous controversies was with Sam 
Medary, Ohio state printer and editor of the Ohio Statesman., 
published at Columbus. Before the ink was fairly dry on the 
first issue of the daily Plain Dealer, Medary accused Gray of 
not being a real Democrat. 

Gray answers the charge in an editorial which pays hearty 
tribute to Silas Wright, then Governor of New York: 

We have always prided ourself upon being a " St. Lawrence Dem- 
ocrat " and of the " Silas Wright school." We took our first lessons 
in Democracy from that distinguished statesman, having from the 
age of ten (at which time we were left an orphan) been reared in 
the family of Ashabel Wright, a connection of Silas, and where the 
latter used often to call to discuss political matters. We listened to 
the counsels even then, and when we began to assume the stature 
of a man and to practice upon his precepts we found it an easy matter 
to make converts to our faith without resorting to abuse. His is no 
prescriptive creed, but allows every man the privilege of adapting 
his principles to his conscience, and not compelling him to adapt 
his conscience to his principles. He denounces no man for an honest 
difference of opinions but respects and honors that independence of 
mind which relies upon the powers God has given it to discriminate 


between the right and the wrong in human affairs. His is a liberal and 
a noble creed and he a liberal and noble exemplar of it. ... 

St. Lawrence is the home of Wright and the banner county of the 
Empire State! Often when a boy have we made the hills and valleys 
of old St. Lawrence resound with our juvenile shouts of " Jackson and 
Democracy " and t Wright and Liberty! " 

Nurtured in such a school, we feel a confidence that our principles 
are right and such only as can harmonize, support and strengthen 
the Democratic party. We live, it is true, in a region where as yet 
political majorities are against us, yet under the promulgation of 
such doctrines we have never lost a governor's election by division, 
nor a presidential vote! This cannot be said in other portions of the 
state where different counsels prevail. The Democracy of the Reserve 
are ever united and their progress is onward. . . , 

So much for ourselves and our Democracy. We hope never to have 
occasion to allude to this subject again. 10 

Gray was as loyal to his prejudices as he was to his friend- 
ships. Except for this fact, Reuben Wood of Ohio instead of 
Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire would probably have been 
elected president of the United States in 1852. Wood was then 
Governor of the state. Gray, Hiram V. Willson, and H. H. 
Dodge, all of Cleveland, were delegates to the Democratic na- 
tional convention at Baltimore. Forty-nine ballots were re- 
quired to nominate a candidate for president. Long before the 
end it was plain that some " dark horse " must be found, since 
none of the leaders could win. The name of Wood had been dis- 
cussed among Ohio Democrats for months. Gray had played a 
canny game, neither espousing nor opposing Wood. He rebuked 
the Herald for saying that the Plain Dealer had nominated the 
Governor for president, declaring enigmatically that Douglas 
is the " second, not the first, choice of Ohio Democrats." u Now 

10 April 21, 1845. Gray got his first news of Wright's death in August 
1847, by private letter from a friendly newspaper editor at Buffalo who 
sent it by boat. For several days thereafter the Herald challenged the 
genuineness of the letter, insisting the Plain Dealer had faked the news. 

11 November 11, 1851. 


at Baltimore Wood was receiving favorable consideration 
among delegates from many states. He could not win, however, 
unless his own state supported him. 

Cleveland was Wood's home. Wood, like Gray, was a son of 
Vermont. Thus to the delegates from Cleveland the conven- 
tion leaders looked for endorsement of the Governor. Gray, the 
leader, said no. The " dark horse " Pierce was given the nomina- 
tion, which, in view of Whig disorganization, was seen to be the 
equivalent of election. 

Later Gray explained that his opposition to Wood was based 
on the fact that the Governor was a " Hunker "; that is, an ultra- 
conservative Democrat. In New York the " Hunkers " had been 
responsible for Silas Wright's defeat as a candidate for re-elec- 
tion to the governorship in 1846. Doubtless that helped Gray 
decide that Wood was not fit for the White House. It may or 
may not be a related fact that Pierce five months after his elec- 
tion appointed J. W. Gray postmaster of Cleveland. 

Occasionally Gray's belligerence led from the verbal to the 
physical. When it came to fisticuffs, however, the fiery Ver- 
monter was under a handicap. His normal weight was 125. " We 
make no boast of our physical powers or animal courage," he 
declared. 12 But realization of this fact never tempered the feroc- 
ity of his conduct. 

In 1848 the Herald accused the Plain Dealer of stealing a 
copy of Folk's message to Congress which the Plain Dealer had 
refused to buy, 13 In Gray's best manner the Plain Dealer made 
answer. A couple of days later Gray and John Coon, one of the 
Herald editors, met on the street. In a column and a half edi- 
torial 14 Gray gave his story of what happened. In a " cowardly 
and brutal " manner, he says, the Herald man assaulted him. 
Gray declares he was handicapped for the encounter by having 
both hands in his overcoat pockets and not even looking in 

12 December 18, 1848. 

13 December 11. 

14 December 18. 


Coon's direction when Coon struck him in the face. 15 But the 
ardor of Gray's spirit is in no measure dampened by his pom- 
meled countenance. Comparing the Plain Dealer to " the stately 
ox " pestered by " the noisome gadfly," he bids defiance to his 

The True Democrat may rail, the Times may lie and the Herald 
slander; they may combine, as they often have, to write us down; 
and, failing in that, set their bullies upon us in the street. We care 
not a farthing for them all The Plain Dealer will live and prosper, 
whether its present editor be allowed to or not; and will yet be read 
by more subscribers than them all. It lives for no man's convenience; 
it will die for no man's pleasure. . . . 

Six newspaper editors have at various times been postmaster 
of Cleveland. J. W. Gray became the third when named by 
Franklin Pierce in the spring of 1853. When he assumed the 
office, he turned over the actual conduct of the Plain Dealer to 
others; so far as the editorial management was concerned, ** re- 
signing the laboring oar in our old vocation to Mr. [ J. B.] Bouton 
who has been connected with us for some years as an associate 
editor." But in spite of this delegation of responsibility, Gray 
kept his hand close to the steering wheel. 

There is nothing to indicate that Gray was either any better 
or any worse as postmaster than his predecessors had been or 
his successors would be. There was, of course, the usual number 
of complaints by the other papers of prejudiced handling of 
the government's business. Gray's loss of the office in 1858 was 
due solely to politics and bore no relation to his conduct of it. 

Three months after losing the postmastership Gray was nomi- 
nated for Congress in the old 19th district, comprising Cuya- 
hoga, Lake, and Geauga Counties. The convention met at 
Painesville, September 18, 1858. His Republican opponent was 

15 Coon's own version of the encounter differed from Gray's. In a per- 
sonal card in the Herald on December 20, Coon wrote: " He [Gray] as- 
sailed me confessedly without cause and I assailed him confessedly with 


Edward Wade of Cleveland, younger brother of the more fa- 
mous Benjamin F. Wade. Though Gray conducted a vigorous 
campaign, as campaign vigor was measured in those days, and 
ran well, Wade defeated him. 16 The nomination had been unani- 
mous. When the other papers implied some irregularity in the 
convention, Gray was back at them with characteristic energy. 
Regarding one critic he said: ** ' Leon/ the lying scurrilous cor- 
respondent of the Leader, knows no more about Democracy 
than a horse does about preaching." 1T 

Gray's creed, aside from its invincible democracy, called for 
unremitting hard labor to make the Plain Dealer a success. One 
of the many stories related of him by a generation to whom he 
was still a familiar sight about town tells of his being arrested 
early one morning by the city marshal for depositing office 
sweepings in the street. To Gray's protest against the indignity 
of being marched off to the station house for so slight an offence, 
the marshal replied: " Gray, you're a big man up in your edi- 
torial room, where you have been squibbling about me, but 
down here emptying dirt in the street you only size up with 
other people." 

The editor was as exacting in regard to his own personal 
habits as he was regarding other people's public conduct. " We 
are a teetotaller," he told his readers in one editorial. 18 In an- 
other: "There is nothing we detest so much as smoking and 
chewing, except it be the smokers and chewers themselves." 19 
To the latter theme of abstinence from the use of tobacco Gray 
often reverts, devoting columns in the aggregate to denuncia- 
tion of a habit then far less common than it was to become later. 

Then one day, when Gray was out of town, some subordi- 
nate 20 played an editorial trick on his absent chief. The nature 

16 Wade polled 8,557 votes to Gray s 4,597 in the district. 

17 September 20. 

18 September 25, 1848. 

19 November 27, 1844. 

20 Tradition says the playful editor was William E. McLaren, later a 
bishop in the Episcopal Church. 


of the hoax is indicated by the letter received from an irate 
subscriber and printed a few days later: 21 


Mr. Editor: You have been so daring as to offer an apology for the 
use of that nasty weed, tobacco. Don't you know you have incurred 
the displeasure of a host of readers? Don't you know they all think 
you an ungracious meddler for furnishing arguments to the gentle- 
men in the quiet way you did? Let me tell you, sir, it is no use, for 
we have an argument that cannot be answered we will hoot the 
gentlemen fragrant with the odors of the cigar and the gentlemen 
disgusting with the fumes of the " quid," hoot them from our com- 
pany! Can you get over this, sir? You make a pretty picture, don't 
you, if you be as you describe yourself after dinner. You admit you 
have acted swinish at the table, for you say your " intellectual tend- 
encies are deadened "; you say you are in a state of " semi-conscious- 
ness "; then you put a piece of poison, wrapped up and scented, in 
your mouth and smoke yourself to sleep or some state no better. 
Now what a nice looking piece of baconizing humanity you are! 
Pshaw, out upon you! Throw cigars where Shakespeare said to throw 
physic, though " the dogs " will not touch the finest one you ever 
smoked. You know men have their little vices and tobacco is one of 
them. You say the ladies should pass over these little vices unno- 
ticed. That will not be done, sir! 


But life for Gray was not all fuss and fury. He loved the relaxa- 
tion of the dance. He enjoyed chess and delighted in adapting 
its terms and strategy to editorial discussions. Some of the early 
battles of the Civil War were to him like masterful maneuvers 
back and forth across the sixty-four squares of the board. The 
precise symbolism of the following may be difficult now to de- 

On the great military chess board we have made some ill-advised 
moves, but the old " Rook of Monroe " has <e Castled " at Hatteras, 
and in the several rapid succeeding moves captured two castles, 
thirty-one pieces and 700 pawns, while Fremont, the knight of St. 
Louis, from the opposite side of the board will force a move from the 

21 February 10, 1853. 


black bishop (Polk ) near him. By an unfortunate move toward Rich- 
mond we were unexpectedly " checked " and held to the defensive 
close in all directions, but the " castling " has relieved us and we 
now take to the attack. Look out for the white knight before Wash- 
ington's square! 22 

From grave matters of politics and war Gray could turn 
lightly to themes of home and fireside. Gray was married on 
November 11, 1845 to Mary K. Foster, described in another 
paper as one of Cleveland's " beautiful daughters." Oddly, the 
Plain Dealer made no mention of the nuptials. Gray loved fam- 
ily life and spent all the time he could in his home, which occu- 
pied a site on Superior Street where the Colonial Theater would 
stand years later; a site which has long since come to the useful 
if undramatic end of being a parking lot. Three children were 
born to the Grays, one of whom may have inspired this editorial: 

Talk about babies! We always loved a baby not any of your 
sour, suspicious, squalling specimens but a bright, rosy, dimpled 
thing, full of fun and frolic, running over with glee, and of such a 
confiding, unsuspecting disposition as not to refuse " to go to " any- 
body. What can be more refreshing in this busy, tiresome world than 
an occasional romp with a baby? A letting down, as it were, of the 
chord of mind until it vibrates in unison with a baby's and then 
holding a confidential chat in real baby vernacular. Then to have a 
couple of white, chubby arms thrown about your neck and a pair of 
rosy lips, fresh as rosebuds ere the dew has left them, presented for 
a kiss! The man who can think of it without a softening of the heart 
and a watering of the mouth is no better than the swine before whom 
the pearls are cast, and we hope he may never be blessed with a 
baby or if he is, let it be a kicking, pugilistic baby, one skilled in 
the art of gouging, who takes delight in running his thumb into your 
eye and in endeavoring to obtain a lock of your hair by a more sum- 
mary process than clipping. 23 

War, politics, and even babies could not, singly or combined, 
keep the mind of J. W. Gray from producing a quip when the 

22 September 2, 1861. 

23 January 5, 1850. 


occasion offered. In the summer of 1849 there was cholera in 
Cleveland, a brother of one of Gray's associates succumbed to 
it, and the report was spread that Gray himself was the victim. 
The incident, amusing to the supposed deceased, invited this 
comment over Gray's own signature: 24> 


We did not expect it would ever become necessary for us to pub- 
lish our card certifying over our sign manual that we are alive; but 
such seem to be the necessities of the case at present. The people, 
especially in Lorain County, will have it that we died of cholera! 
Now it is gratifying to us, and we presume to our country friends, 
that we are able to state most positively that this cannot be true. If 
we might be permitted to argue such a case we would say there are 
a multitude of facts which, so far as circumstantial evidence is ad- 
missible, would go far to throw doubt upon the report. We will 
mention a few; first, we were never under a doctor's care a day in our 
life, and everybody knows how difficult it is to die without a doctor; 
second, we could not well have died of cholera as we have been vac- 
cinated for it from our earliest infancy, i.e., we never drink ardent 
spirits, smoke, chew, snuff or swear; third, had we really died the 
Herald would have been dressed in BLACK, so tenderly does that 
sheet regard our life. 

These considerations are conclusive to us that we are still living 
and if our distant friends want any further evidence let them inclose 
to us each a dollar and a half for our forthcoming new dressed EN- 
LARGED WEEKLY and we will send receipts with the genuine auto- 

A newspaper at Canton, New York, regrets the fact that win- 
ters thereabouts are less snowy than they used to be. It ends 
the editorial with the exclamation: " O, Mores! " 

" When we lived in Old St. Lawrence," Gray observed, " we 
never had to call on * Moses * for snow. We have skated many a 
day on its crust five feet above ground, and fences and stumps 
all out of sight for miles around." 25 

2 * June 4, 1849. 

25 February 11, 1848. 

< 3 

O 1 






Believing them matters of popular interest, if not of actual 
importance, the Plain Dealer devotes columns to spiritualism 
and " spirit rappings." The Herald suggests that Gray is ready 
to become a "medium." Gray denies that he has embraced 
spiritualism, but adds: " We never condemn as a humbug what 
we cannot demonstrate as falacious; neither do we believe what 
we cannot understand." 2e 

One day there appeared at the head of the editorial column 
a new, elaborate, but badly printed design featuring a head of 
Franklin. The editor hastened to reassure his public: 

Shade of Franklin, reader! don't think that is our head we never 
assumed so much gravity in our life. Besides, we never wear a wig 
nor spectacles, although such things become old folks, and it is well 
known that we are Gray. 

That is the head of Ben Franklin, the Printer, Patriot and Philoso- 
pher. He was a Plain Dealer also and as a model for our humble, 
feeble but honest imitation we select him to preside over our edi- 
torial columns. 27 

But the cut was too bad for acceptance even on so high a 
ground. It never appeared again. 

So ran the daily current of the Plain Dealers editorial life. 
Never discouraged by defeat or disheartened by political re- 
verses, cheerful in the face of new rivalries set up for his un- 
doing, jubilant in victory and resilient under the blows of mis- 
fortune, he sought ever to make his paper a little better than it 
had been. The latest and best in equipment was bought, when- 
ever he could afford it. The best of talent was sought. 

George Hoyt, long an editorial associate of Gray, wrote years 
later 2S that Gray was " almost the father of modern illustrated 
news journalism. . . . His was the first political newspaper 
that I know of to make deliberate use of this weapon [carica- 
ture] throughout a campaign, as he did in 1860; those things 

26 January 29, 1851. 

27 September 30, 1858. 

28 August 24, 1902. 


were left to the regular illustrated papers or the satirical or 
comic journals of the day." Gray was also the first Cleveland 
editor to print daily market reports. 

He was, indeed, a veritable dynamo of energy. He found time 
for civic as well as political activities. He served as school ex- 
aminer and was the first secretary of the Cleveland Lyceum, 
later serving as its treasurer. 

Of the many characterizations of Gray left us by his contem- 
poraries, none perhaps is more to the point than this from the 
Buffalo Courier, a not very friendly paper, as quoted by the 

He is smart, lively, litigious as Peter Peebles, 29 and as pugnacious 
as a terrier. He rushes into a controversy, as a bull starts on a career, 
with his eyes shut, regardless of the size or strength of his antagonist, 
never knows when he is beaten, or when lie has conquered, but 
continues the fight, whether it be with a windmill, a chimera or a 
man, until the breath is fairly beaten out of his body. He then de- 
sists perforce, but the moment he recovers he begins precisely where 
he left off and repeats the performance with a similar result. 30 

Though for the first twenty years of its life the Plain Dealer 
and J. W. Gray were almost synonymous terms in the Western 
Reserve and wherever the newspaper was read, there were, in 
truth, three Grays, sons of Uel and Elizabeth, identified with 
the paper in its early days. 31 

Admiral Nelson Gray who preferred, after the family fash- 
ion, to be called merely A. N. had preceded his younger 
brothers to Cleveland from their home in Madrid, New York. 
He was a copartner with J. W. in establishing the weekly Plain 
Dealer, but did not stay with the new venture long. Following 
the sale of his interest in the paper to his brother, A. N. Gray 
became an inspector of flour and other products on the payroll 

29 Peter Peebles was a character in Scott's Redgauntlet. 

80 Quoted in the Herald, September 30, 1858. 

81 A fourth brother, oldest of the four, was Ransom Gray, who went 
to Cleveland with the rest and was a blacksmith. He died there in 1848. 


of the city. He was also a member of the city council. A few 
years later he established a business furnishing railroads, then 
rapidly developing in the Reserve, with rails, spikes, and other 
materials of track construction. Accordingly he was known the 
rest of his life as " Iron Gray." 

A. N., oldest of the three Plain Dealer brothers, died in Cleve- 
land on June 22, 1862, less than a month after the death of J. W. 32 

N. A. was the middle brother in age. In 1840 he married Ann 
Mary Lewis, whose mother was a cousin of Dolly Madison. He 
worked for the Plain Dealer in many editorial capacities. He 
was at various times associate editor, writer of editorials, and for 
one period acted nominally as editor. 

When the daily Plain Dealer came into existence in 1845, 
N. A., who was teaching school at Zanesville, became at once 
the accredited agent of the new enterprise in that locality. From 
that time until he enlisted for service in the Civil War he was 
identified with the paper. When J. W. became postmaster he 
made N. A. his deputy. N. A. was given credit for persuading 
David Tod to accept the Union nomination for governor in 
1861. In the Tod administration he was clerk of the Ohio Senate. 

Because of his activity in church and Sunday school N. A. was 
popularly known as " Deacon." " How is J. W. and the Dea- 
con? " asked Artemus Ward, writing from his desk in the office 
of Vanity Fair. 

To the complete disgust of his Democratic friends on the 
Plain Dealer, N. A. turned Republican after the war. J. W. was 
then in his grave and thus was spared knowledge of his brother's 
" infamy." For a Gray of St. Lawrence County, shrine of Silas 
Wright, to become a Republican would have been gall and 
wormwood, triple-distilled, to the head of the clan! 

32 Two sons of A. N. Gray won distinction in the Civil War. Lieutenant 
Roman H. Gray was presented a sword by a group of Cleveland friends in 
the fall of 1862 " for gallant conduct at the Battle of Shiloh." A. P. Gray 
worked for the Plain Dealer before enlisting for service against the Con- 


Though over-age, the " deacon " in May 1862 the month 
J . W. died enlisted in the army as a private, and re-enlisted 
two years later. Following Grant's election to the presidency, 
he was given a position in the Post Office Department at Wash- 
ington, remaining on the payroll of the federal government un- 
til his death in 1877. Pleasing and effective as a speaker, he 
several times toured Ohio on behalf of Republican candidates 
for state office whom the Plain Dealer was at the moment trying 
its hardest to defeat. " A renegade Democrat " was the Ohio 
Statesman s characterization of him, and the Plain Dealer found 
pleasure in reprinting it. 33 

Yet at N. A/s death the Plain Dealer generously observed 
that " the deacon was a quaint character, but his good heart 
and invariable bonhomie generally made friends of those with 
whom he came in contact, despite political and other differ- 
ences. The writer of this 34 will always carry with him pleasant 
memories of Deacon Gray." 

33 July 17, 1867. 

84 Probably George Hoyt. 



The English novelist, touring America, visits Cleveland 

and is affronted by an article he credits to the Plain 

Dealer. It was only a reprint, but it served. 

FREE publicity as unusual as it was unexpected came to the 
weekly Plain Dealer in the fourth month of publication. It was 
a bit of advertising founded in error, but the proprietors of the 
paper were quick to utilize it to the utmost. 

Charles Dickens, one of the great English novelists of all 
time, made a tour of the United States in the early months of 
1842. He had " conquered " England with his inimitable pic- 
tures of life in The Pickwick Papers and other works of lit- 
erary genius. He came to this country a man of not quite thirty, 
and traveled by stagecoach, canal boat, and lake steamers, gath- 
ering material which later appeared in his famous American 

Crossing Ohio from Cincinnati to Sandusky, Mr. and Mrs. 
Dickens and their party took the steamer Constitution down the 
lakes, stopping at Cleveland from midnight till nine o'clock in 
the morning of April 25. The Herald that afternoon contained 
this paragraph of news: 

Boz Mr. Dickens and Lady passed down the lake today on the 
Constitution. While the boat was in port this morning Mr. D. took 
a stroll about town with a traveling friend, returned to the boat and 
immediately retired to his stateroom. The gentlemen and loafers 



gathered about the dock got a sight at " The Dickens " and that 
was all! 

The American Notes was prepared for publication immedi- 
ately after Dickens's return to England in June, but it was late 
in the year before the volume itself was available in Cleveland. 
The little community was greatly entertained to read these 
lines from the Englishman's impressions of his American 
cousins : 

After calling at one or two flat places, with low dams stretching 
out into the lake, whereon were stumpy light-houses, like windmills 
without sails, the whole looking like a Dutch vignette, we came at 
midnight to Cleveland, where we lay all night, and until 9 o'clock 
next morning. 

I entertained quite a curiosity in reference to this place, from hav- 
ing seen at Sandusky a specimen of its literature in the shape of a 
newspaper which was very strong indeed upon the subject of Lord 
Ashburton's recent arrival at Washington to adjust the points of dis- 
pute between the United States government and Great Britain in- 
forming its readers that as America had " whipped " England in her 
infancy, and whipped her again in her youth, so it was clearly neces- 
sary that she must whip her once again in her maturity; and pledg- 
ing its credit to all True Americans, that if Mr. Webster did his duty 
in the approaching negotiations, and sent the English Lord home 
again in double-quick time, they should, within two years, sing 
" Yankee Doodle in Hyde Park, and Hail Columbia in the scarlet 
courts of Westminster." I found it a pretty town, and had the satis- 
faction of beholding the outside of the office of the journal from 
which I have just quoted. I did not enjoy the delight of seeing the 
wit who indited the paragraph in question, but I have no doubt 
he is a prodigious man in his way, and held in high repute by a select 

The article Dickens referred to had appeared, as everyone 
knew, in the recently established Plain Dealer. The " wit " and 
" prodigious man/' it was assumed, could be none other than 
J. W. Gray. 

That Dickens's reception in Cleveland and his resentment 
at the " whip England " article were not conceived of by the 
novelist as a mere literary device, but had in fact made a deep 


impression on him, is indicated by a letter he wrote to his own. 
future biographer John Forster from Niagara the day following 
his visit at the mouth of the Cuyahoga: 

. . . We lay all Sunday night at a town (and a beautiful town, 
too ) called Cleveland; on Lake Erie, The people poured on board in 
crowds by six Monday morning to see me; and a party of " gentle- 
men " actually planted themselves before our little cabin, and stared 
in at the door and windows while I was washing and Kate lay in bed. 
I was so incensed at this, and at a certain newspaper published in 
that town which I had accidentally seen at Sandusky (advocating 
war with England . . . ) that when the mayor came on board to pre- 
sent himself to me, according to custom, I refused to see him and 
bade Mr Q tell him why and wherefor. His honor took it very coolly 
and retired to the top of the wharf, with a big stick and whittling 
knife, with which he worked so lustily ( staring at the closed door of 
our cabin all the time ) that long before the boat left the big stick was 
no bigger than a cribbage peg. 1 

The point of the whole Dickens story lies in the fact which 
the distinguished visitor overlooked and reporters of the inci- 
dent have ignored ever since that the offending article was, 
so far as Gray and the Plain Dealer were concerned, merely a 
reprint, clipped, as the office saying is, to " fill a hole." It had 
appeared originally in the Index, a paper published at Alex- 
andria (then included in the District of Columbia), whose ed- 
itor was Jesse E. Dow. Used as an editorial in the Index on 
March 12, it was reprinted in the Plain Dealer, with full credit 
to its origin and without comment, a month later, twelve days 
before Dickens took his stroll along the streets of Cleveland. 2 

1 The mayor of Cleveland at the time was Dr. Joshua A. Mills, thrice 
chief executive of the city. On the occasion of his death (May 1, 1843) 
the Herald said of him: " His eminence as a physician, his usefulness as a 
citizen, his character as a man, have secured to him an enviable reputa- 
tion, while the frankness, the generosity, the nobleness of his heart, have 
won the lasting love of all who knew him." 

2 Even George Hoyt, who worked with Gray for years, wrote in a 
reminiscent article, August 24, 1902, that Gray was author of the article 
which so aroused Dickens. 


Here is the Index pronouncement: 


We must confess we are astonished at the apparent apathy of 
Congress on the subject of a war with England. . . . 

England must conquer the United States, or she must sink into the 
grave of nations. Statesmen and diplomats may dream of peace, but 
the enemy's cannon will ere long arouse them with a thunder note, 
and then a war of extermination will commence in earnest. . . . 

We pray not for war if we can have an honorable peace, but we 
cannot have such. The grasping after the wealth of the world by 
England has destroyed her earlier sympathies and fired the train 
of her ambition. A hypocrite in the vesture of the church, she 
preaches the gospel of the world at one moment and lays the world 
under contribution at the next by force of arms. A harlot in spotless 
robes of a vestal, she speaks of purity and virtue and then seduces 
her hearers with her blandishments and honied tones. She has tyran- 
nized over every power of Europe and Asia. Her fleets have scoured 
the seas, and her flag floats over every wild crag of the ocean. De- 
spised and feared by all, she sits like a surly mastiff in her island ken- 
nel thirsting for blood, yet afraid to leave her litter. Her gold con- 
quered Napoleon her rapacity has caused nearly every war for the 
last fifty years. She warred with her own colonies because we would 
not pay her debts, use her stamped hot pressed paper and drink her 
infernal tea. She hates France because of her manufactures and 
curses America for having the manliness to tell her to mind her own 
business. We are ready to war with England. . . . 

Like Sir John Falstaff we can give reasons as plenty as blackberries 
for a war; and, feeling confident that we must have one, we are desir- 
ous of doing the business up handsomely at once, before our ardor 
cools or our countrymen become callous to insult and invasion. 

Our country teems with strong arms and stout hearts, burning for 
the fight. The war spirit is up among the people. The old drums of 
Louisburg, Havana, Bunkerhill, Saratoga, York-Town, New Orleans 
and an hundred other scenes of American glory are waiting for the 
signal. Our dark old battleships for the " beat to quarters." Then let 
our reformers, who are now so busy in saving wafers and sealing wax 
and who sell letter paper in the post office of the House of Represen- 
tatives at $8 per ream, be up and doing. Congress of American Re- 
publicanism, stand to your arms war is at hand. In less than fifteen 


days it may be upon us in all its horrors. Pass your militia bill; dis- 
tribute your arms; authorize your President to grant commissions to 
privateers; call home your Whalemen; increase your navy; send 
your commercial agents around the world and bid the American 
hearts come home. Fight England, if fight you must, with a will to 
make a business of it, and my word for it, in less than three years 
the old Grid Iron and the stars will float triumphant over the seas. 
The people demand war! Our country is insulted and her glory is 
dimmed by the insolence of England. We should act as a man would 
act who has been insulted upon the walk. Thank God, the old blood 
of the Revolution is still trickling in our veins. We whipped England 
when we were in our infancy; we threshed her again when we ar- 
rived at the age of manhood; and with the blessing of God we can 
in a short time sing "Jefferson and Liberty" in Hyde Park and 
** Hail Columbia " in the scarlet halls of Westminster. 

Strange, bombastic jargon this sounds now. But that these 
ideas had considerable currency a hundred years ago is not to 
be questioned. That the Grays of the Plain Dealer sympathized 
with them, to some extent at least, need not be doubted. In fact, 
the Plain Dealer, on its own account, had said earlier in this 

The time is at hand when England, 

That power whose flag is now unfurled, 
Whose morning drum beats round the world, 

will be humbled; and He who guides the destinies of nations will 
take vengeance on this " Disturber of the peace." 3 

Had Dickens seized on that stray paragraph of Plain Dealer 
opinion, instead of on the Index reprint, he would have had a 
better case against the paper which had offended him. In those 
first days of his editorship Gray was a good deal of a jingo. 

Again, if Dickens had been more familiar with the Plain 
Dealer, and not a mere " accidental " reader of a stray copy, he 
might have encountered this paragraph to help feed his wrath: 

" Bozophobia " is a new disease which has broken out in the east- 
ern cities. The dandies, dandizettes and fools are running after Boz, 

3 April 6, 1842. 


alias Charles Dickens. The tickets for a ball recently given him in 
New York sold for $5) apiece! 4 

Late in the year the American Notes found its way to Cleve- 
land. The Plain Dealer on November 23 reprinted large sections 
of the new book and made this observation regarding its author 
and his opinions of America: 

His stay in this country was short, his time was mostly spent in 
barrooms, stage coaches and steamboats; and it is evident from his 
Notes that he has become acquainted only with such characteristics 
of our people as float on the surface, and has yet to learn our real 
characters. However, there is much in this work to amuse and in- 
struct the American readers, although in every page we meet traces 
of a deep-seated English prejudice. 

Not for some weeks, it appears, did Gray come to realize 
what a chance Dickens had given him for blowing his own 
journalistic horn. Finally came this editorial: 


Long will be remembered that bright morning in May [sic] when 
it was announced to the citizens of Cleveland that " the Dickens was 
among them/* . . . 

All the dignitaries from the shirtless loafer to his Honor the Mayor 
met the boat at the foot of Main street, where other famous men had 
disembarked. . . . 

When his " Notes of America " were first published, the would be 
great men of this little city ordered ten score copies by Hardin & Go's 
express to be brought with lightning speed. The books were opened 
and all of Cleveland that appeared was the following lines, the glory 
of which we take all to OUR HUMBLE SELF; 

[Then are repeated the lines from the Notes quoted above.] 

That immortalizes us, that word "prodigious"! How slight the 
foundation often, on which rests the fabrick of human greatness! 
But for a vagrant copy of the Plain Dealer and the careless penning 
of a paragraph which proved unpalatable to English taste we might 
have lived and died in comparative obscurity. But the above " note " 
has made us the subject of comment by all the Lords, Dukes, Mar- 
quises and Ministers of England! 

* March 16, 1842. 


Sluggish the spirit and base the lot of him who is content to plod 
through a dull life to a fameless grave! 5 

The Dickens contribution to the Plain Dealer's fame was too 
precious for the editor to forget. In August 1859, hearing that 
the novelist would make a second tour of the United States, the 
Plain Dealer offered this jocular suggestion: 

Come on, " Boz." Bring that book you wrote on your return from 
this country. We shall expect you to read before a Cleveland audience 
that thrilling chapter headed " The Cleveland Plain Dealer/' When 
you come to the paragraph copied from the Plain Dealer throw your 
whole soul into it and we will guarantee the house will come down. 
. . . We put you down as a " dead head " subscriber to the Plain 
Dealer during your stay. . . . e 

Many years later, nearly twenty after the death of J. W. Gray, 
the Cleveland Leader recalled the Dickens incident, which had 
occurred long before that newspaper was born. It printed an 
editorial under the caption "Prophecy Literally Fulfilled/' 
pointing out that now at last " Hail, Columbia," was in truth 
played by British bands on London streets at the inauguration 
of a new lord mayor. The Leader credited the prophecy to Gray, 
thus accepting the Dickens error of assuming that the " pro- 
digious " author of the tirade against England was the editor 
of the Plain Dealer. 

Gray's first criticism of the Notes was pretty well sustained 
by the opinion of qualified judges. Ralph Waldo Emerson 
wrote in his journal: 

Yesterday I read Dickens* American Notes. It answers its end 
very well, which plainly was to-make a readable book, nothing more. 
Truth is not his object for a single instant, but merely to make good 
points in a lively sequence, and he proceeds very well. ... As a 
picture of American manners nothing can be falser. . . J 

5 January 25, 1843. 

6 August 12, 1859. 

7 November 25, 1842. 


Stephen Leacock, a later Dickens biographer, characterizes 
one part of the Notes as the " work of a peevish cockney travel- 
ling without his breakfast." This would have delighted Gray. 
And how Gray would have chuckled at Dickens's dictum writ- 
ten at another time to Macvey Napier, editor of the Edinburgh 
Review: " An American editor [is] almost always a scoundrel "I 



"Newspapers now forgotten parade through the early his- 
tory of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer swallowed some, 
and persuaded others that the game was not 
worth the candle to them. 

No ambitious publisher in a growing community in the middle 
of the nineteenth century was content to have his reputation 
and fortune dependent on the success of a mere weeHy or semi- 
weekly newspaper. No sooner was the weekly Plain Dealer 
fairly launched and its acceptance by the community assured 
than the Grays or at least the younger of them began think- 
ing of publishing daily. 

The partnership between the Grays was shortlived. On July 
19, 1843, eighteen months after the appearance of the weekly, 
the following item of news attracted the attention of readers : 

The co-partnership heretofore existing between A. N. and J. W. 
Gray in the publication of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is this day 
dissolved by mutual consent. 

The business will be conducted by J, W. Gray who will settle the 
demands against the firm and to whom all dues must be paid. 

A. N. Gray 
J. W. Gray 

One week later the paper announced a cut in subscription 
price from $2 to $1.50 a year, and at the same time boasted that 

5 1 


the Plain Dealer was " the cheapest weekly paper of its size 
published in Ohio or in the western states." 1 

Just why the Grays severed their partnership relations so soon 
probably cannot now be established. It is probable, however, 
that A. N., the elder brother, found he had no taste for news- 
paper publishing when it began to assume the character of a 
serious enterprise. His aptitudes lay in other directions. He was 
inclined to business and not to the conduct of a political organ 
in a politically hostile community. 

His career, after leaving the partnership with J. W., was iden- 
tified largely with railroad-building. He accumulated a consid- 
erable fortune, partly in Cleveland real estate. 

The younger brother offers a study in contrasts. J. W., too, 
proved himself a capable business man, but his greater interest 
lay in political argument. His loyalty to the Democratic Party 
was second only to his loyalty to God and country. He loved the 
turmoil of partisan conflict. He was convinced, with an ardor 
characteristic of the period, that the welfare of the country de- 
pended on an intelligent application of Jacksonian principles 
to the problems of government. 

Thus it is obvious that the mind of J. W. Gray turned early 
to the idea of making the Plain Dealer an evening daily. He 
had put behind him all idea of practicing law. That the minds 
of the partner-brothers did not travel together on this proposal 
to expand the publishing business may be easily imagined. 

Two months after J. W. Gray became sole proprietor of the 
paper, the following paragraph announced the program he had 
in mind: 

In due time we hope to present to the citizens of Cleveland a 
Daily paper which shall eclipse this "modern wonder" (The Her- 
ald) in every particular. 2 

The evening Plain Dealer was still many months from actual 
production. But plans for its beginning were going forward. 

1 This was a direct challenge to the Herald, then selling for $2 a year. 

2 September 27, 1843. 


The first definite announcement of the forthcoming daily came 
on March 5, 1845 and its first publication date was then fixed 
for the beginning of the next month. Three weeks later Gray 
announced the motto for the yet-to-appear daily: 

Cleveland before any other town in the state; the state before any 
other state in the Union; and the Union against the world! 3 

Finally, on April 7, came the first issue of the daily Plain 
Dealer, with its inevitable salutatory: 


Our ship is launched! Who does not say, " Prosperous gales attend 
her! " Our freight is light, but enough is laid up " in store " for us 
to make our voyage successful, 

No trembling hand is at the helm 
Propitious skies are o'er us. 

We embark with three hundred names to our yearly list. If we 
swell this number to five hundred which we hope soon to do under 
the sMZmg-a-week system, it is all we can reasonably hope at present. 

We now offer our daily to the business men of Cleveland as a help 
to their interests, and feel that we have a right to ask their aid in 
return. So far we have been highly gratified with the interest 
which commercial men of both parties have taken in the enterprise. 
All agree it is for the direct interest of the place to support a weU 
conducted independent daily paper of each of the great political 
parties; so that, whichever party is in power, local interests shall 
not suffer from want of an effective advocate. 

The present administration seems to be one of marked quietness 
and order, so much so as to inspire the confidence of even its political 
enemies; and we are disposed to share with the community the dis- 
position to let the " turbid pool of politics " comparatively alone, 
until such time as " the war trump needs to sound/ 7 or until silence 
shall cease to command success. 

A further profession of faith appeared elsewhere in this first 

N. P. Willis, the talented editor of the New York Evening Mirror, 
dedicates his editorial labors to the " upper ten thousand." . . . 

8 March 26, 1845. 


We profess a faith which acknowledges no such distinction in so- 
ciety. Our creed recognizes in rights die natural equality of men, 
whether fiddlers or philosophers. All are made of the same dust, and 
were designed by Him who is " no respecter of persons," to stand in 
life upon the same platform. There will be no " upper " nor under 
" ten thousand " with us. 

The Cleveland Herald, which Gray was setting out to sur- 
pass in excellence, greeted its new rival with gracious courtesy: 

DAILY PLAIN DEALER Our enterprising neighbor issued the first 
number of the Daily Plain Dealer yesterday, and a very neat, cred- 
itable sheet it is, too. 4 

Little could the writer of this cordial welcome have imagined 
that forty years later the Herald would lower its flag in sur- 
render, and that the Plain Dealer would move in to take posses- 
sion of its franchises and its physical plant. 

Until now the only Democratic daily in Ohio had been pub- 
lished at Cincinnati. 

By the end of the second week the editor was ready to report 
flattering prospects for the new venture. The circulation was 
already above four hundred. He continued: 

At the present rate of increase it will soon exceed that of any other 
daily ever published in this city. . . . 

There are many who complain of poverty and deny themselves 
this trifling expense who spend several shillings a week for cigars, 
sangarees and the like which do them no good. . . . 5 

The advent of the daily Plain Dealer gave Cleveland three 
evening papers. The first morning edition was still some years 
in the future. The long-established Herald, published by J. A. 
Harris, was an organ of the Whigs. The recently started Ohio 
American, published by R. B. Dennis of Ohio City, was devoted 
to the interests of the Liberty Party. 6 

4 April 8, 1845. 

5 April 9, 1845. 

6 The American was later sold to the True Democrat and ultimately 
found itself part of the combination which was the Cleveland Leader. 


In a business sense, omitting consideration of politics and the 
hostile political attitude of the community, however, the time 
seemed favorable for the launching of the new journalistic ship. 
Cleveland had already begun that phenomenal growth in com- 
merce and population which was to give it distinction among 
American cities. A census taken by Elijah Peets in March 1845 
gave Cleveland 9,573 inhabitants. By the federal census of 1850 
the city would be found to have a population of 17,600, with 
another 4,523 across the river in Ohio City. 

One of the early issues of the new daily, commenting on the 
increased population of Ohio City, declared that "could the 
annexation scheme of uniting the two cities, Cleveland and 
Ohio City, be consummated * without war' we could easily 
figure up a population of 13,000. That would place us in the 
catalogue of big cities ? and make us a great city." Thus early 
in its career did the Plain Dealer enlist in the cause of metro- 
politan unity. But the actual merger of the two municipalities 
was to be delayed for nearly a decade. 

Here were prosperity and promise to be partaken of. And 
Gray set about determinedly to get his share of them. 

The editor probably agreed that his skies were already bright- 
ening when in this year of 1845 the first city ordinance of record 
which designated a newspaper to do the municipal printing was 
enacted, naming the daily Plain Dealer. 

One year after the appearance of the daily came the Mexican 
War. The Plain Dealer supported the Polk administration in 
every war measure, particularly criticizing the Cleveland Her- 
ald for its anti-war attitude. 7 Gray urged greater activity in 
enlistments and denounced current pacifist meetings. On one 

7 The Herald said, on June 6, 1847: "We are fighting for nothing, 
absolutely nothing, save it be for the gratification of a brutal lust of war 
a passion which, if it exists, we are persuaded is confined to the corrupt 
political bankrupts at the capital. Let the war cease now, and without 
another blow! " 


occasion he declared: " The Whigs have carried Ohio and the 
Democrats have carried Monterey! " 8 

By June 1849 the Plain Dealer had won rare words of praise 
from the True Democrat, its energetic young Whig competitor: 

Our neighbor [the Plain Dealer] appeared Wednesday evening 
[June 13] in a new garb, tidy and trim, sparkling with humor and 
full of good feeling. He is a man of energy and will be rewarded. 
He has ever been generous in outlay and a liberal public will repay 
him fourfold. In look and form, in spirit and substance, the Plain 
Dealer is a paper of which any city might be proud. 9 

The plank-road era was at hand. The highway to Chagrin 
Falls was to be the first. It would cost twenty thousand dollars, 
half of which the Falls was ready to pay if Cleveland would 
provide the other half. The Plain Dealer urged that the im- 
provement be not delayed. " Ohio/' it declared, " is the worst 
state in the Union to travel in, especially northern Ohio." 10 
Plank roads, the paper declared, " fully answer all the purposes 
the most sanguine claim for them." n 

By the first of the year 1850 a few of Cleveland's streets, it 
was promised, would soon be lit by gas. " How citified we shall 
appear," the Plain Dealer remarked. 12 "We are soon to be a 
* city set on a hill whose light cannot be hid.' " 13 

In a communication to the editor a group of store employees 
asked that these places of business close at eight instead of ten 
each night. The petitioners " deem it necessary that a portion 
of their time should be devoted to mental improvement and the 
study of branches holding a near relation to their employ- 
ment." 14 Two days later the names of seventy-three employers 
were published as agreeing to the earlier closing hour. Among 
the names was that of J. W. Gray. 

It has been a habit of Cleveland through the years to out- 

* October 19, 1846. 12 April 3, 1849. 

9 June 15. " September 8, 1849. 

10 December 12, 1848. 14 November 9, 1848. 

11 January 1, 1849. 


grow its own police facilities. What was probably one of the 
first newspaper editorials of protest against neglecting this first 
line of city defense appeared in the Plain Dealer in 1853. There 
was, it seems, a " crime wave." 

" Cleveland is growing up into a great city," the paper said. 
" Enterprise and improvements have stamped their signet on 
her. "Then: 

Her present police system is not suited to her capacities nor her 
wants. In fact, whatever it may have been it is now a sheer humbug. 
We say not one word against the officials now acting. Most of them 
are passable some are all that is wanted. But the system is defi- 
cient. There are now for a population of, say, 27,000, but three or 
four acting constables. To guard the residences of that number of 
people half a dozen watchmen are all that are now employed. Crime 
and misery have much increased. We daily chronicle burglaries, 
thefts, murderous assaults and within a few weeks past we have 
penned the horrid particulars of two murders. . . . 

Our entire police system must have renovation if crime is to be 
checked. . . , 15 

Gray's immediate task was, of course, to make a business suc- 
cess of a venture which had called for all the capital he could 
raise and all the resources of mind and body he could com- 

By the time the daily Plain Dealer was off the ways, the long- 
discussed bank issue was nearing its end, and the tariff was 
being hotly debated. The subtreasury measure had become law 
and been repealed, but was to be again enacted under Polk. 
The Plain Dealer was ready to take a hand in the discussion. 

It had declared its creed to be " a tariff for revenue, but not 
one cent for tribute." 16 It was shortly to argue strenuously for 
free trade, 17 and years later to deny with equal strenuousness 
that it had ever advocated free tradel 18 

15 January 1, 1853. 
July 7, 1843. 

17 January 1, 1849. 

18 September 23, 1893. 


The rising issue of slavery could not have been avoided, even 
had Gray wished to ignore it. He was not the kind of editor, 
however, who would even think of such an evasion. A month 
after the establishment of the daily he protested that other grave 
questions faced the country and should not be crowded out of 
consideration by the general tendency to emphasize the slav- 
ery issue. 19 

Gray deplores the doom which binds five millions of human 
beings in chains. He was not, however, an Abolitionist. 20 

Thus the Plain Dealer, an infant in the local daily field, 
showed no inclination to adopt the pussyfoot. It was ready 
to discuss whatever was moot, and to meet trouble half-way. 

Following the election of two Whig Governors in succession, 
Gray undertook a diagnosis. In a long editorial he discussed 
the causes of Democratic defeat: 

Mismanagement in our opinion has caused the repeated failure 
of our party in this state, and that mismanagement is clearly trace- 
able to our party leaders. . . . The Democratic platform has been 
so narrowed down and whittled away in this state that not room 
enough is left for the whole democracy to stand. . . . 

The majority of the people in Ohio are Democrats in principle, 
Democrats by nature, by birth and by the noble and generous spirit 
of freedom, by the free air and boundless fields of the mighty 
west . . . 21 

Politics and adverse election results, however, were not the 
sum of Plain Dealer worries in these first days of the daily. In 
August 1845 Gray called attention to a prospectus just issued 
for a new Cleveland Democratic paper to be called the Times. 
The prospectus contained words ominous to Gray's own enter- 
prise, which was not yet on very firm ground: 

The publication of a paper in Cleveland which shall fearlessly 
maintain the true principles of Jeffersonian Democracy and which 

1& May 20, 1845. 

20 September 11, 1846. 

21 November 3, 1845. 


will not vacillate in its course or truckle to political opponents for 
mercenary purposes, has for some time been earnestly desired by a 
large and respectable portion of the Democracy of the state and 
especially of the county of Cuyahoga and the adjoining counties. 
In compliance with these wishes and the earnest solicitations of 
many of our political friends we now present our proposals for pub- 
lishing such a paper and respectfully solicit subscriptions for its 
support. 22 

The Plain Dealer saw in this proposal a challenge, and ac- 
cepted it at once. Gray sized it up as a conspiracy between Post- 
master Timothy P. Spencer and the proprietors of the Herald. 

Between Gray and Spencer a feud had existed for some time. 
It came finally to involve Cave Johnson, Postmaster General 
in the Polk Cabinet, and was a political cause celebre in the 
Western Reserve. 

Gray accused Johnson of trying to use the patronage of his 
office to control the opinions of the Plain Dealer on the issue 
of slavery extension, particularly in relation to the Wilmot 
Proviso. 23 

He charged Spencer with conspiring with Johnson and the 
Herald to undermine the prestige of the Plain Dealer as a Dem- 
ocratic organ. Spencer had been one of the proprietors of the 
old Advertiser and Gray had repeatedly assailed his manage- 
ment of the property. Finally he accused the postmaster of 
trying to collect postage on mail franked to the Plain Dealer. 

In the midst of the controversy the Cuyahoga County Demo- 
cratic committee, under the chairmanship of Gray, petitioned 
President Polk to remove Spencer from his federal office. 24 
No action was taken on the petition at Washington, but it served 
further to fan the flame of resentment. 

The feud, so far as Spencer was concerned, finally culminated 
in 1847 when he brought suit for libel against Gray. The defend- 
ant was promptly acquitted. 

22 August 19, 1845. 

23 January 4, 1848. 

24 Herald, October 3, 1845. 


The Times, happily for Gray, proved a shortlived wonder. Its 
first issue appeared on September 11, 1845. Horace Steele, for- 
merly of Painesville, was editor. The hook-up with the Herald, 
as Gray saw it, lay in the fact that Peter Baxter, Steele's co- 
partner in the enterprise, was a former Herald pressman, and 
that the new paper used a Herald press. The Herald explained, 
however, that it was an old press, discarded when steam came 
into use for power. 25 

Changing its status from weekly to daily in the fall of 1847, 26 
the Times soon ran its course, proving to be merely another of 
the many competitors set up to embarrass the Plain Dealer. An 
inconspicuous paragraph in the True Democrat announced that 
the Times had been " merged " with the Plain Dealer. 27 

Thus ended one of the major threats aimed at the Plain Dealer 
in its earlier days. Gray had preserved his paper's command in 
its particular field, and continued to speak with authority as 
representative of the Democracy in northern Ohio. 

In spite of feuds and sometimes expensive competition, the 
daily was able from time to time to show signs of some prosper- 
ity. At the beginning of 1852 it announced " new paper new 
terms." Its delivery was now given by contract to Irad L. Beards- 
ley, former bookkeeper of the Plain Dealer and a future part 
owner of the paper for a short period. This contract plan was 
copied from Eastern papers and was for some years in vogue in 
Cleveland. 28 Gray coupled with the announcement a plea for 
more subscribers: buying a daily paper " is a duty which every 
married man owes to his family, to see them thus supplied with 
the means of general intelligence and the motives of morality 
and economy." 29 

A week later the paper was increased in size from seven to 

25 April 17, 1846. 

26 October 10. 

27 February^ 1849. 

28 Newspapers then " sold " their circulation to someone who con- 
ducted it for his own profit. 

29 January 5. 


eight columns, and the columns lengthened. A reasonable meas- 
ure of boasting seemed to be in order. Still: 

Because we are dressed up and feel that we not only are but look 
respectable, we are not going to assume any airs among our breth- 
ren, but intend to be noticed hereafter as heretofore for our amiable 
temper, quiet, inoffensive manner, native modesty and a disposition 
to do the * agreeable " to all mankind, and advance the interests 
of the Democratic party. . . . 30 

Four months later Gray became so confident of the hold the 
paper had on the community that he decided to give the Plain 
Dealer a morning as well as an evening edition. The first issue 
of the new edition appeared on May 10, but the enterprise 
proved ill-timed. For once Gray's ambition had outrun his 
judgment. Other attempts to branch into the morning field 
would be made, but the morning Plain Dealer, as present-day 
readers know it, was still decades in the future. 

By trial and triumph, failure and success, J. W. Gray proved 
there was a field here for a Democratic evening paper. The 
Plain Dealer speedily proved its right to exist. 

30 January 14, 1852. The size of the new page was 26& by 20& inches. 



Humorist who could make Lincoln laugh even in wars 

darkest hours took his first steps toward world fame 

when he was " local " on the Plain Dealer. 

THE WAR Cabinet of Abraham Lincoln had assembled at the 
White House on a special call by the President. No member 
knew the purpose of the meeting. But the date, September 22, 
1862, was to be remembered through generations to come as 

As the Cabinet members gathered, the President was observed 
quietly reading from a small volume. As the last were seated 
he raised his sad eyes from the printed page and said: " Gen- 
tlemen, did you ever read anything from Artemus Ward? Let 
me read you a chapter that is very funny." 

No one smiled. The fretful Stanton fairly fumed. Here was 
the head of the Union wasting the time of a government dis- 
traught by war, while he indulged in his love of humor. He 
read the chapter; then he read another. Finally: 

" Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain 
that is upon me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die, 
and you need this medicine as much as I do." 

Then the President took from his tall hat standing on the 
table beside him the Emancipation Proclamation and read it 
to the Cabinet. 



Of the scores of men who have contributed conspicuously to 
the success of the Plain Dealer during the century, receiving in 
return the privilege of a forum suited to their wares, probably 
no other became so widely known or is so fondly remembered 
as Charles Farrar Brown. 1 If the name sounds unfamiliar, sub- 
stitute his pseudonym, and call him Artemus Ward. 2 

The name Artemus Ward first appeared in the columns of the 
Plain Dealer. The last sentence the humorist ever wrote, pen- 
ciled on his death-bed, mentioned the Plain Dealer and the 
duties it imposed on him as its " local." 

A bronze tablet at the main entrance to the Plain Dealer 
editorial floor commemorates Artemus Ward's services to the 
paper. A bust of the humorist stands in the office of the editor. 
The chair and table he used have a place in the Museum of the 
Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. 

These are physical mementos of a career cut short by death 
when Artemus Ward was only thirty-three years of age. His 
books are little read now. But a man who could by his clever- 
ness and the piquancy of his philosophy take the mind of Abra- 
ham Lincoln off his troubles in the midst of the Civil War needs 
no artificial aids to enduring fame. 

1 Not until the time of his connection with Vanity Fair did Brown add 
a final " e " to his name. Why he did so then has never been explained, 
so far as the present writer knows. The family name was Brown. The 
name on the humorist's tombstone in the cemetery at Waterford, Maine, 
is Brown. 

2 Where Brown found his pseudonym is a question once much dis- 
cussed. Don C. Seitz, his biographer, says the name was that of an 
eighteenth-century man to whom the Province of Massachusetts Bay 
granted part of the land on which Waterford, Maine, Brown's birthplace, 
stands. The name was thus a sort of Brown family tradition. 

Henry Watterson, who met Brown in the clubs and drawing-rooms of 
London, writes in his autobiography: "The soubriquet Artemus Ward 
. . . was suggested by an actual personality. In an adjoining town to 
Cleveland was a snake charmer who called himself Artemus Ward, an 
ignorant witling or half-wit, the laughing stock of the countryside. Brown's 
first communication over the signature Artemus Ward purported to ema- 
nate from this person, and it succeeded so well that he kept it up." 


Three years spanned Artemus Ward's connection with the 
Plain Dealer. Into this short period the journeyman printer 
from Maine packed a lifetime of original achievement. His con- 
tribution both to literature and to journalism is everywhere 

Charles Farrar Brown was born at Waterford, Maine, April 
26, 1834, of pioneer New England stock. Hannibal Hamlin, 
Vice President with Lincoln, was a distant cousin. His father 
was a citizen of standing and official position in the community. 
Charles, following the example of his elder brother, Cyrus, be- 
came a printer, leaving his home for the type-case when thir- 
teen years old. 

That was the day of the roving printer. If it was difficult for 
an effervescent spirit like Brown to be content long to hold a job, 
at least it was not difficult for him to find another. The great, 
enticing West beckoned. At twenty Charlie Brown had seen 
enough of the print shops of New England and was ready for 
adventure beyond the Alleghenies. Ohio was his goal. 

Cincinnati, being then the metropolis of the state and on the 
great river highway, naturally attracted the jobless printer. He 
set type there, tried school-teaching across the border in Ken- 
tucky, then wandered north across the state. There is a record 
of his employment at South Charleston. He reached Sandusky, 
found nothing there, but heard that a vacancy existed at Tiffin 
in the composing-room of the Seneca Advertiser. 

The editor and proprietor of the Advertiser was William W. 
Armstrong, and Armstrong was to become ten years later the 
editor and owner of the Plain Dealer. Brown would, however, 
leave the paper for broader fields before the advent of the man 
from Tiffin. 

" I believe," said Armstrong afterward of his to-be-famous 
employee, " that he was the gawkiest, greenest-looking young 
fellow I had ever set eyes on/' Though later he was to become a 
man of the world, successful as a writer and lecturer, he never 
quite escaped the essential accuracy of this description. His 


physical oddity was part of his humorist's bag of tricks. He was 
" distinguished " in more senses than one! 

Brown's stay at Tiffin was short, as all his stops through a brief 
life were to be. Perhaps the four dollars a week 3 he received 
from the Advertiser seemed too small, or the old wander-lust 
asserted itself again. At any rate, within a year Brown was in 
Toledo, setting type on the Commercial. It was here he took the 
step which so many of his kind had taken and have continued to 
take through the years. He left the type-case for a desk in the 
editorial room. He became the " local " of the Commercial. 

His work in Toledo attracted the attention of Gray of the 
Plain Dealer. The two men were in many ways kindred spirits. 
Gray had now directed the Plain Dealer for fifteen years. Cleve- 
land knew him as a person of infinite energy who loved his jests, 
made friends easily, and was always in the market for the un- 
usual performance. He liked the sparkle of Brown's work at 

So at the end of October 1857 Charles Farrar Brown pulled an 
armchair up to an old pine table in the editorial room of the 
Plain Dealer Building at Superior and Vineyard Streets and 
began the short career in Cleveland which was to make history 
in the realm of letters. Curiously enough, he came primarily to 
be commercial editor. His work as city editor was intended to 
be incidental. In these words Brown's new employer welcomed 
him to the local fraternity: 


In view of the fact that the Plain Dealer circulates extensively 
throughout the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, 
Minnesota and Michigan and in view of the fact also that these states 
contain millions of surplus products yet unmarketed and are destined 
in the future to be the granary of the world, we have felt it due our 
patrons that a COMMERCIAL EDITOR should be added to our present 
editorial force, one who will take specially in charge the commercial 
department and collect and collate market reports from all parts 

3 This was, presumably, in addition to his board and lodging. 


of the world and give in condensed form the most reliable figures 
to our readers. For this purpose we have secured the services of Mr. 
Charles F. Brown, Esq., lately of the Toledo Commercial., and who 
comes to us highly recommended as a scrupulously correct and dili- 
gent business man, a talented and agreeable writer. Mr. Brown will 
also have charge of the Local Column in place of Mr. Cleveland, our 
old and well-tried associate now promoted. 4 

That Brown speedily became something more to the paper 
than merely a commercial editor is indicated by the fact that 
before three weeks had elapsed his name was hoisted to the 
masthead as " associate editor." James D. Cleveland had now 
left the staff to become assistant clerk in the federal district 
court, a position which was to lead in a few years to a judgeship. 
Brown's immediate associates in the office were George Hoyt 
and James Brokenshire. 

Of the office group of employees Brown became soon the 
dominant figure. The gawkiness which had so impressed Arm- 
strong at Tiffin had not left him. He was still an odd figure of a 
man. James F. Ryder, famous early Cleveland photographer, 
was to become one of Brown's warmest friends. Ryder once de- 
scribed his first meeting with the newcomer: 

On going into the Plain Dealer editorial rooms one morning I saw 
a new man and was introduced to him as Mr. Brown. He was young, 
cheerful in manner, tall and slender, not quite up to date in style of 
dress, yet by no means shabby. His hair was flaxen and very straight; 
his nose, the prominent feature of his face, was Romanesque quite 
violently so, with a leaning to the left. His eyes were blue-gray, with 
a twinkle in them; his mouth seemed so given to a merry laugh, so 
much in motion, that it was difficult to describe, so we let it pass. 
It seemed as though bubbling in him was a lot of happiness which 
he made no effort to conceal or hold back. When we were introduced 
he was sitting at his table writing; he gave his leg a smart slap, arose 
and shook hands with me and said he was glad to meet me. I be- 
lieved him for he looked glad all the time. You couldn't look at him 
but that he would laugh. He laughed as he sat at his table writing, 

4 November 2, 1857. 


and when he had written a thing which pleased him he would slap 
his leg and laugh. . . . 5 

The story of Charles Farrar Brown's three years with the 
Plain Dealer is a part of the history of Cleveland of that period. 

Any twentieth-century metropolitan city editor, remember- 
ing the exacting requirements of his own job, might feel some 
amusement in observing the daily column or so produced by 
Brown. In truth, to entertain seemed then as much the purpose 
of the local column as to inform. Plain Dealer readers turned 
to the work of the new " local " more to enjoy his quizzical slant 
on events than to gain information of the events themselves. 

This was a day long preceding the advent of the now popu- 
lar newspaper columnist. Brown would today probably have 
written and edited a column of humor, and the column might 
have been syndicated. Eighty-three years ago he was, in his 
triple role as commercial editor, local editor, and associate ed- 
itor, in essence a columnist under the more cumbersome title. 

Whatever staidness the Plain Dealer retained in other parts 
of the paper was neutralized by the local column. Inevitably, 
readers began to look each afternoon for Brown's curious inter- 
pretations of Cleveland occurrences rather than to Gray's expo- 
sitions of political doctrine. The free hand given Brown in fixing 
the character of his department may well be the envy of pres- 
ent-day newspaper workers accustomed to the discipline of a 
more conventional performance. 

Toward the end of January 1858, three months after the ad- 
vent of the man from Maine, the metamorphosis of Charles 
Farrar Brown to Artemus Ward was suddenly achieved. Read- 
ers of the paper one afternoon were greeted with this bit of 
" local intelligence ": 

Mr. Artemus Ward, proprietor of the well-known side-show, 
writes us from Pittsburg as follows: 

5 Voigtlander and I, by James F. Ryder, a volume of reminiscences 
published in 1902. 


Pitsburg, Jan. 27, 18 &58 
The Plane Dealer: 

i write to no how about the show bisnes in Cleeveland i have a 
show consisting in part of a Calif orny Bare two snakes tame foxes &c 
also wax works my wax works is hard to beat, all say they is life and 
nateral curiosities among my wax works is our Saveyer Gen taylor 
and Docktor Webster in the akt of killing Parkmen. now mr. Editor 
scratch off a few lines and tel me how is the show bisnis in your good 
city i shal have hanbils printed at your offis you scratch my back 
and i will scratch your back, also git up a grate blow in the paper 
about my show don't forgit the wax works. 

Yours truly, 

Artemus Ward 

Pitsburg Penny 
P S. pitsburg is a 1 horse town. A. W. 

To this was added the supposed answer of the editor to his 
correspondent's inquiry: 

We believe Mr. W. would do well with his show here, and advise 
him to come along immediately. 

Of course, Artemus Ward's show never reached Cleveland. 
From time to time the public was regaled with the showman's 
experiences at various places. The " bisnes " was always com- 
ing to Cleveland and was on the way, but difficulties continu- 
ally intervened. For the next two years, however, Artemus kept 
his pseudonym before the local public through a variety of con- 
tributions ranging from alleged interviews with popular figures 
of the day to a story of the showman's courtship. 

Many of these articles were later revised, and now appear in 
the published works of the humorist. Some have completely lost 
their savor, so closely related were they to contemporary hap- 

For three mad, merry years Artemus Ward kept Cleveland 
amused by his antics. His friends were many, and he was their 
acknowledged leader. The cocktail bar as a descriptive term 
had not yet been invented, but the institution itself throve under 

'"!( . * ...iff&i 


He iwmtai to beat the Herald. 


other names and the Plain Dealer man's jovial presence was 
everywhere welcome. 

Stories of his pranks were common currency in the commu- 
nity. His presentation of articles allegedly written by the " three 
tigers of the Cleveland press " the editors of the Plain Dealer, 
Herald, and Leader was an act which took liberties with the 
names of men who were accustomed to being taken seriously. 
To J. A. Harris, editor of the Leader, he ascribed a vigorous de- 
fense of prize fighting. George A. Benedict, editor of the Herald, 
was made to sing the praises of the well-dressed man. J. W. 
Gray, the humorist's own employer, found his name in a by- 
line above an article decrying dancing as an evil which " de- 
stroys more people than War, Pestilence and Famine." 

The spice of the performance is indicated by the fact that 
Gray loved dancing and, until ill health diminished his natural 
effervescence, was to be seen enjoying it on many a waxed floor. 
How he enjoyed the " kidding " of his whimsical associate is no- 
where recorded. Artemus Ward was making friends for the 
Plain Dealer and that was probably enough for the moment to 
salve any feelings of resentment Gray may have felt. 

Recalling some years later the work he did on the Plain 
Dealer, Artemus Ward wrote that " he was kept very busy in- 
deed from 8 o'clock in the morning till half past 3 in the after- 
noon in collecting the police reports and other items that might 
be of local interest." But these were not the activities which 
made him famous or gave him pleasure. He may have been kept 
" very busy indeed " performing the regulation duties of a local 
editor and reporter, but he had time enough left to do the things 
he delighted in doing. 

As time went on and the humorist's horizon broadened, it is 
evident that he became less and less interested in " collecting 
the police reports." He felt the urge to create. He hungered for 
a wider acclaim than a subordinate position on a small-city daily 
could give him. The popular lecture was then the vogue, and 
Artemus began turning over in his mind the idea of taking some 


of his whimsies to the platform. Apparently without consulting 
Gray, he began syndicating his copy to Vanity Fair in New 

Gray did not quite approve of his associate's sprouting wings. 
He had brought him to the Plain Dealer, paid him his salary, and 
thought the paper should receive the benefit of whatever he 
produced. Besides, Gray was by the autumn of 1859 in failing 
health and perhaps lacked the patience or the understanding 
he would have had when his health was more vigorous. 

Friction between the men gradually developed. Artemus 
Ward agreed to remain with the paper and give it all his time 
and his complete output for a hundred dollars a month. 6 That 
seemed to Gray an impossible exaction. Thus ended Artemus's 
connection with the Plain Dealer, after three years. On Novem- 
ber 11, 1860 appeared the following farewell: 


The undersigned closes his connection with the PLAIN DEALER 
with this evening's issue. During the three years that he has con- 
tributed to these columns he has endeavored to impart a cheerful 
spirit to them. He believes it is far better to stay in the Sunshine 
while we may, inasmuch as the Shadow must of its own accord come 
only too soon, He cannot here, in fit terms, express his deep gratitude 
to the many including every member of the Press of Cleveland, who 
have so often manifested the most kindly feeling toward himself. 
But he can very sincerely say that their courtesy and kindness will 
never be forgotten. 

The undersigned may be permitted to flatter himself that he has 
some friends among the readers of newspapers. 

Charles F. Brown 

With equal appearance of cordiality the editor bade his fa- 
mous and talented associate farewell and good luck: 

Our associate Mr. Brown has had a " louder call," as the Reverends 
would say, and goes to a larger city, where he can enlarge his sphere 

6 His salary at the time was either ten or twelve dollars a week. Re- 
ports do not agree on the figure. 


of usefulness. To do the Locals for a daily paper in a city like this is 
a drudgery, cramping to such a genius as his, and we cannot blame 
him for aspiring to a higher position. It is the lot of our Locals to 
rise in the world. Bouton built himself such a reputation while with 
us that he went to New York and is now City Editor of the Journal 
of Commerce. McLaren, another Local, is now preaching the gos- 
pel; and Brown is destined to become either a minister or an author, 
perhaps both. Our relations are now and always have been of the 
most agreeable kind, and we part with him with many regrets. 

Of the later career of Artemus Ward, little need be said here. 
The story is known to everyone familiar with the Civil War 
period in American letters. After leaving Cleveland Artemus 
Ward became editor of Vanity Fair. He lectured from coast to 
coast in this country. He was a friend of Bret Harte and Mark 
Twain and of other literary figures of the time. 

After J. W. Gray's death in 1862, when the Plain Dealer was 
published by John S. Stephenson, administrator of the Gray 
estate, Artemus Ward proposed to buy the paper if proper 
terms could be arranged. 7 He feared his days of profitable lec- 
turing were about over, he liked Cleveland and would enjoy 
returning there to live. The paper could then have been bought 
for a not extravagant figure, for the owners of the estate wished 
to sell, but seemingly the matter was never pressed. 

One might indulge in conjecture as to how successful Artemus 
Ward would have been as owner and publisher of a daily news- 
paper. If ever a man of attainments existed who appeared un- 
suited by habit and temperament to conduct such a business, 
meet payrolls, and give a paper the influence in the community 
it must have to merit success, Artemus Ward would seem now 
to have been the man. 

June 1866 found the humorist in London, preparing for a se- 

7 About the time of Artemus Ward's death his friend Mark Twain 
was offered and seriously considered buying a share in the Cleveland 
Herald. Had Artemus bought the Plain Dealer and lived, and had Mark 
bought into the Herald excusing the accumulation of hypotheses 
what a jolly pair of competing editors they would have been! 


ries of lectures there. He was welcomed with enthusiasm on 
all sides. He contributed to Punch, the oldest comic journal in 
the English language. Halls were packed for his lectures. His 
fame had preceded him abroad and here was the former Plain 
Dealer " local " capitalizing it magnificently. 

But alas for fame and talent! Artemus Ward, weakened by 
overwork and the penalties of too much conviviality, proved a 
ready victim of tuberculosis. His days of fun-making, of drol- 
lery and make-believe were near an end. He was taken from the 
chill atmosphere of London to the island of Jersey, but there 
was no cure and no recovery. There on March 6, 1867 Artemus 
Ward died. He was seven weeks less than thirty-three years of 

His last thoughts had been of the Plain Dealer and his days 
in Cleveland. " Some twelve years ago," he wrote from his bed 
of death, " I occupied the position ( or the position occupied 
me) of city editor of a journal in Cleveland, Ohio. This journal 
the Plain Dealer was issued afternoons . . ." Before the 
statement was completed, the pencil dropped from his fingers 
and was never again picked up. 

Thus ended the brief career of a man aptly called the Father 
of American Humor. Artemus Ward was in the years ahead to 
be paid the compliment of frequent emulation, but himself was 
without a forerunner. Mark Twain, less than two years his 
junior, learned much from the Plain Dealer man and generously 
acknowledged the debt. Artemus Ward thus paved a way which 
others were glad to follow. 

Beneath the comic superficiality of his written words, as be- 
hind the " mask of melancholy " donned for platform effect, lay 
the humorist's understanding of the contrasts and incongruities 
of the life of the period which saw him flourish. His queer spell- 
ing, his verbal quips and puns generally outmoded now 
were the marks of a genius and a pioneer. That his work is now 
but little read detracts nothing from his stature as a literary 
figure of the era of the Civil War. 



Following the Jacksonian period, the Western Reserve 

was first Whig and then Republican. A Democratic 

Party organ found the going rough. 

A good judge is Mr. Gray of Liberty feeling! Party is his God 
Right principle, humanity, these are all secondary matters with 
him! 1 

THE DAILY True Democrat had all the ardor of a convert and 
wished no one to forget that it and it alone was the organ 
of the Free Soil Party in the Western Reserve. That the editor 
of a Democratic paper in this hotbed of anti-slavery emotion 
could possess any feeling of justice, or appreciate the rights of 
man, was an idea apparently beyond the comprehension of the 
press which represented the prevailing sentiment of the com- 

The saga of the small-city minority editor in America has 
never been adequately told. It is part of the eighteenth- and 
nineteenth-century history of journalism in the United States. 

In his chapter on the Liberator, founded by his own grand- 
father in 1830 to fight slavery, Oswald Garrison Villard in 
Some Newspapers and Newspaper-Men portrays the lot of an 
editor who for conscience's sake was willing to endure privation, 
sleep on the floor of his attic print shop, and subsist on the scant 

1 True Democrat, March 26, 1850. 



revenues of an unpopular cause. The enduring work of such a 
man as William Lloyd Garrison is better appreciated, however, 
in retrospect than in the judgment of his contemporaries. 

Garrison, of course, published a national weekly. His few 
friends were scattered through the Northern states. His many 
enemies were even more widely placed. He depended on no 
particular community or limited geographical region for ac- 
claim. Garrison was sustained in his historic labors by the fire 
of a moral zeal indifferent alike to men's scorn and the hard 
blows of fortune. His was the unusual performance, and Ameri- 
cans of every creed join now in paying homage. 

While the great little Liberator was thus achieving its lasting 
glory, scores of editors in the small cities of America were less 
gloriously experiencing the hardships which in that period at- 
tended the role of minority spokesman in the field of newspaper 
publication. Theirs were political voices crying in the wilder- 

The cream of local advertising went to their rivals. Officially 
they were never permitted to forget their position as counsel for 
the outs. Socially, in many instances, they were given opportu- 
nity to practice chiefly the virtue of humility. 2 

They may have been right in the principles they advocated; 
they may have been wrong. It matters little after the years. All 
of this is largely a chapter of experience long since completed. 

These spokesmen for the minority were of necessity a hardy 
lot, inured to abuse if not to Spartan living. It may be said that 
they chose the role of their own volition. Generally they invited 
the missiles of war which dropped in their dooryard or came 
crashing through the front window. 

For many years the Cleveland Plain Dealer spoke for the po- 
litical under-dog in the Western Reserve. From " benighted " 
Ashtabula on the east to Huron and Erie Counties on the west, 
majorities regularly tramping to the polls to vote their sincere 

2 The Plain Dealer insisted, December 8, 1848, that it was the only 
paper in Cleveland compelled to live on its merits. 


convictions walked roughshod over the opinions of Editor J. W. 
Gray. He became accustomed to the rebuff. For most of the 
twenty years of his control of the paper these majorities, encour- 
aged and abetted by Cleveland's other newspapers, regularly 
sounded an unheeded requiem for this organ of Democracy. 

In an editorial written on the occasion of Gray's appointment 
as postmaster of Cleveland, in 1853, J. W. recalled the political 
difficulties which attended the birth of the weekly: 

Just after the state of Ohio had given Harrison twenty-three thou- 
sand majority, Corwin fifteen thousand, the Reserve twelve thou- 
sand, Cuyahoga county twelve hundred and Cleveland city three 
hundred, without money and without experience we took hold of 
the Democratic paper here, then lying a dead thing on the hands 
of the Democracy and so involved that its title had been placed in 
the keeping of trustees by virtue of a sheriffs sale in order to keep it 
out of the hands of its creditors. . . , 3 

Successive publishers of the Advertiser had faced much the 
same problem of a politically hostile community. The Grays, at 
the birth of the new weekly, naturally hoped to succeed where 
others had failed. J. W., the younger of the founding brothers, 
was discovered in the years at hand to possess what it required 
in adversity to wrest a reasonable measure of success from the 
evident prospects of failure. 

The period immediately following the establishment of the 
Plain Dealer saw a general loosening of party bonds, owing 
largely to the rise of anti-slavery sentiment in the North. The 
Whigs, coming into existence as a party in 1834, were already 
on their way out in 1842, though they succeeded in electing 
Taylor to the presidency six years later. The Liberty Party, ow- 
ing its existence to the failure of the anti-slavery societies to 
make effective headway in the direction of abolition, held its 
first national convention in 1840. 

This era of political unsettlement saw also the advent of the 
Free Soil Party, which was to play a short but spectacular role 

3 April 6. 


in Ohio. The Free Democrats tried to establish their independ- 
ence of the organization whose name they were unwilling quite 
to abandon. There flowered also for a time the American or 
Know-Nothing Party, composed, its enemies declared, of Whigs 
in disguise. 

John Tyler, the nation's first accidental President, was in the 
White House at the birth of the Plain Dealer. He was more 
Democrat than Whig, though elected on the ticket with Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison. Tyler had carried the Western Reserve 
only because of the political strength of his running mate in this 
Whiggish territory. Thomas Corwin, a Whig, was Governor of 
Ohio. In the 1836, 1840, and 1844 national elections Whig can- 
didates carried both the Reserve and Cuyahoga County. Even 
in 1842, when the Democrat Shannon was elected Governor, 
the Reserve and its chief city remained unshaken in their sup- 
port of his opponent, Corwin. Down to 1853 it was a Whiggish 
boast that the counties of the Reserve could always be counted 
on for a 10,000 majority at least. After the state election in 1855 
the Leader expressed mortification at the fact that Cuyahoga 
County had not shown the same enthusiasm for Chase as was 
indicated by the Reserve as a whole. 4 The Reserve majority was 
about 13,000. 

This region had been, indeed, from the start a citadel of anti- 
slavery strength. Western Reserve College at Hudson, under 
its first president, the Reverend Charles B. Storrs, had as early 
as 1830 thrown its influence into the cause. From the moment 
of its foundation in 1833 Oberlin College was also a center of 
anti-slavery agitation. In election after election one or another 
of the radical anti-slavery parties demonstrated that it held the 
balance of power. In 1842, when Shannon, won the governor- 
ship, nearly half of the vote for King, Liberty Party candidate, 
came from this section of the state. Ever since the Jacksonian 
era the star of Democracy, so far as the Reserve was concerned, 
had been dropping into the west. 

4 October 16. 


This was the political atmosphere which greeted the advent 
of the Plain Dealer. It was to continue pretty much unchanged 
through the Gray regime, though the pendulum's swing would 
give the paper an occasional opportunity to boast of success in 
stemming the tide of adverse sentiment. Even when the na- 
tional administration was controlled by the Democratic Party, 
the Western Reserve usually persisted in its political insurgency. 
But in 1848 and 1852 - flood tide of Plain Dealer hopes - the 
Democrats carried even this hotbed of anti-slavery sentiment 
for Cass and Pierce, their nominees for president. Mirabile 
dictu! The impossible had happened. 

Gray took advantage of the surprising situation again to hail 
the success of his paper. He believed the days of discourage- 
ment were past; that the people of the Reserve had at last seen 
the light and would thenceforth support the cause to which he 
had dedicated his journalistic life. It would, however, be many 
a long year after 1852 before the occasion would repeat itself. 
Gray was a hard-headed political editor, but he was no seer. 

By the time the presidential campaign of 1856 came around, 
the old situation had again come to pass. Though James Bu- 
chanan was elected, John C. Fremont, first nominee of the new 
Republican Party, carried Ohio and was given substantial ma- 
jorities in the Reserve and in Cuyahoga County. Buchanan was 
to be the last Democrat elected to the presidency for nearly 
thirty years. The Democratic press faced a long period of 
prayer and fasting. 

Whigs, Liberty men, Free Soil adherents, Free Democrats 
and American Party members would in time find a resting place 
in the bosom of the Republican Party. But while the harmoniz- 
ing miracle was in the making, the war between the Plain 
Dealer and its newspaper enemies was waged with continuing 
relentless energy. The regular charge against Gray, as against 
other Democratic editors, was that he spoke for a party dead to 
humanitarian appeal; a party afraid to speak out against slavery 
lest it lose the South and its hope of control at Washington. 


Wise men in the various anti-slavery camps saw that the only 
hope for success against the hated institution lay in the direc- 
tion of party fusion, a merger of these several parties, each in- 
effective by itself. By the same token, it was the part of Demo- 
cratic strategy to resist and, if possible, prevent such fusion. 

Gray argued that political fusion was unsound and destruc- 
tive, taking the same position as the New York Herald and the 
Ohio State Journal, among others. The Leader met the issue of 
fusion with a fresh attack on the enemy: 

The [Plain] Dealer belongs to a " fusion " party a fusion of 
fogies, fools, fag-enders, flunkies, Catholics, slave-breeders, knaves 
and charlatans, bound together by the cohesive attraction of public 
plunder, Jesuitism and the fruits of unrecompensed labor. . . . 5 

Not all alliterative artistry, however, was confined to the 
Leader office. The Plain Dealer had referred to a local political 
convention as an effort to * fuse the fifty furious fickle factions 
ofFugledom. . . " 6 

The change of name from the Forest City Democrat 7 to the 
Leader meant no lessening of hostility toward the Plain Dealer. 
Earlier in the year the Democrat had said: 

The Plain Dealer most criminally suppresses the news of the gen- 
eral uprising of the people of the free states, commencing with the 
great meeting of capitalists of New York and extending like a mighty 
wave over the whole north. It is acting the part of the harlot Delila, 
and would drug the Democracy of northern Ohio asleep that they 
may be bound hand and foot and delivered over to the Philis- 
tines. . . . 

The Plain Dealer next argues an abrogation of the Missouri com- 

5 July 20, 1854. 

6 September 5, 1853. 

7 The Forest City Democrat had been formed by the merger of the 
True Democrat, started at Olmsted Falls in 1846, and the Forest City, 
established by Joseph and James Medill in 1852. In 1854 it changed its 
name to the Cleveland Leader and as such continued in existence until 
1917. Under Edwin Cowles the Leader attained a measure of prosperity 
never before equaled by any paper on the Reserve. 


pact in order, as it jesuitically affirms, that a clear field can be opened 
for the battle of freedom with slavery. . . . 

Against the fast-rising tide of militant abolitionist sentiment 
on the Reserve, the Plain Dealer found itself helpless, but re- 
mained undaunted. Defending the Kansas-Nebraska Bill as a 
measure in complete harmony with Popular Sovereignty, Gray 
was daily made aware of the fact that his community was taking 
a different path from his own. He was experiencing the same 
revulsion of popular feeling as beat upon the sturdy soul of 
Stephen A. Douglas. 

The Senator had written to a friend that on his way back to 
Illinois to meet the storm of protest caused by his advocacy of 
the compromise measure: "All along the Western Reserve of 
Ohio I could find my effigy upon every tree we passed." s 

Speaking in a sense for those who inspired the effigies, the 
Leader declared that " the Dealer is nearly the last survivor 
on the Reserve which advocated the Nebraska villainy. It, too, 
would sleep the sleep that knows no waking for the curse of 
the people is upon it but for the fodder provided for it by the 
general government." 9 

After the election of Chase to the governorship in 1855, the 
Leader was certain that " locof ocoism and Pro-Slavery are bur- 
ied in the same grave and there is no hope of their resurrec- 
tion." 10 

Increasingly the tendency of the majority was to define " lib- 
erty" as synonymous with "abolition." Gray steadfastly re- 
fused to subscribe to this popular trend. 

Whigs of the North were, of course, opposed to slavery in 
all its gruesome aspects, but they were not zealous enough to 
satisfy the radicals. And this dissatisfaction contributed largely 
to the political disorganization which marked the period on the 
Western Reserve and elsewhere. 

8 Quoted by George Fort Milton in The Eve of Conflict. 

9 June 4, 1855. 

10 October 12, 1855. 


The spokesman for the Liberty Party in Cleveland was the 
Ohio American, established in 1844. The True Democrat, started 
as a Whig paper, would appear shortly to speak for the Free 
Soilers. The Herald remained fairly steadfast in its loyalty to 
the Whigs as long as they retained any promise of ultimate 

Meanwhile the only nation-wide party which throughout this 
period retained its name and organization and a reasonably 
consistent set of principles was the Democratic Party of Jeffer- 
son and Jackson. To this party the Plain Dealer declared its 
allegiance at the start, and to it Gray remained true, in spite of 
efforts of his competitors to destroy him. 

As the issues of the Civil War began to take form it may be 
said that, broadly speaking, the Democrats of the North were 
opposed to the extension of slavery, but inclined to a somewhat 
conciliatory policy toward it. Stoutly the party resisted aboli- 
tion. Replying to a criticism by the True Democrat, the Plain 
Dealer declared: 

Our pretensions as an anti-slavery man are what particularly 
troubles these editors. Long before the True Democrat was known 
and while these gentlemen were fighting Whig battles for Henry 
Clay, the prince of slave holders, the Plain Dealer, as its files for ten 
years will show, was struggling almost alone in these parts against 
slavery and the slave power. . , . n 

Gray, indeed, spoke from the record. At least as far back as 
1845 he had denounced slavery and expressed the hope of its 
gradual extermination. 12 A little later he had explained in an 
editorial ** why we are not an abolitionist." ls 

The Plain Dealer was consistently against slavery and against 
its extension into free territory. Just as consistently it was op- 
posed to its peremptory and what Gray considered to be its 
unconstitutional abolition. "As far as political abolitionism is 

11 November 18, 1850. 

12 May 20. 

13 September 11, 1846. 


concerned/' it declared, " there Is not enough of it left to make 
a winding sheet for a dead dog." 14 

Gray early saw, as Lincoln did, that the primary issue of the 
approaching war was the preservation of the Union and not the 
destruction of slavery. He rejoiced when the House at Columbus 
voted to sweep the " black laws " from the statute books. 15 
"They have long been a disgrace to the state," the paper 

He opposed the idea of a convention with Southern men, pro- 
posed to discuss the slavery question. 16 Repeatedly in the dec- 
ade before the Civil War Gray urged Congress to abolish slav- 
ery in the District of Columbia, where its authority could not 
be questioned on constitutional grounds. 

As to the extension of slavery beyond its then existing bound- 
aries, the Plain Dealer defined its own and the Democratic 
Party position in the following editorial: 

What of this charge that the Democracy are slave extensionists? 
The territories are settled by citizens from all the different states. 
As citizens of either of the states they could control by their votes 
the domestic institutions and laws of those states, subject only to 
the Constitution of the United States. They go to the territories to 
found new states. As citizens of the territories common sense would 
say they should there also and to the same extent by their votes 
control the domestic policy and institutions of the states that are to 
be. Why, because they have crossed the line dividing state and terri- 

14 Quoted by the Leader, August 13, 1855. 

15 January 31, 1849. The first of the Ohio " black laws " was enacted 
in January 1804, and was called an act " to regulate black and mulatto 
persons." By its terms no person of color was permitted to reside in the 
state unless he should first show a certificate from some federal court that 
he was free. Ohioans were forbidden to employ or harbor one without 
such a certificate. The original act was supplemented by further legisla- 
tion in 1807, 1816, and 1831, stiffening its provisions and making the lot 
of the Negro or mulatto more difficult The laws were finally repealed in 
1849 when thirteen Free Soil legislators from the Western Reserve found 
themselves in possession of the balance of power in the General Assembly, 

" April 9, 1849. 


tory, are they therefore rendered incompetent to act as citizens any 
longer? And why should Congress which is nothing more than a 
representative embodiment of the interests, party prejudices and 
even honest judgment of other states compel a policy for the new 
states or territories at variance with the will and desire of bona fide 
actual citizens of those territories or states? There is no right reason 
for it no justice in the pretension. The people of the old states gov- 
ern themselves. The people of the new states should govern them- 
selves. This is the Democratic doctrine. This is the true republican 
doctrine, though not the doctrine of Black Republicanism. 17 

Add to this the Plain Dealer's support of the idea of coloniza- 
tion, which Lincoln himself had advocated, and one has in out- 
line what Gray thought of the problem which held the whole 
North in violent debate. In April 1859 the paper returned to the 
subject to urge again the desirability of colonizing Negroes on 
a voluntary basis, continuing: 

We have ever contended that Africa was the spot, the quarter of 
the Globe, originally designed for them and to which our free col- 
ored population should be encouraged, not driven, to go. ... This 
is a government of white men; let them establish a government of 
colored men. xs 

On one point of anti-slavery creed, however, Gray completely 
changed his position as the battle grew warmer. Toward the 
end of 1847 the Plain Dealer said: ** We believe the principle of 
the Wilmot Proviso to be the correct principle." 19 

But nearly ten years later Gray was ready to confess: 

. . . We, too, in our younger days, with Gen. Cass and many other 
distinguished members of the Democratic party, believed that Con- 
gress had power to impose any restrictions it pleased upon territo- 
ries, even to the establishment or prohibition of slavery and, with 
this in view, favored the Wilmot Proviso as a means of preventing 

" October 24, 1856. 

18 April 11. 

19 November 16. 


the extension of that " peculiar institution." 20 But a fair reading of 
the Constitution allows no such construction of its powers, and we 
are glad it does not. We had rather trust that question with the 
people, the virtuous, intelligent and incorruptible people than with 
Congress. . . . 21 

The Plain Dealer was, of course, by Gray's frequent admis- 
sion, a party organ and Gray called himself a politician. These 
facts may, perhaps, be taken to excuse a reasonable amount of 
inconsistency. However, in spite of the efforts of newspaper 
enemies to tag Gray with the sin of denouncing one day what 
he had favored the day before, a reading of the record in these 
after years shows at least as reasonable a consistency on funda- 
mental policies as his rivals and competitors could establish a 
claim to. 

Yet the Democrats' alleged lack of moral indignation on the 
subject of slavery, and their refusal to subscribe to the radical 
doctrine of abolition, gave their enemies material for a perpetual 
bombardment of the Plain Dealer and its fighting editor. 

The Plain Dealer, bellicose and uncompromising, was to feel 
the rapier thrusts of many a partisan encounter and to earn the 
scars of an unending warfare. Newspaper enemies would come 
and go. They recognized a common foe in the Plain Dealer, 
Differing among themselves, they were none the less a unit 
against the Democratic organ. 

Year by year the confidence of the radicals grew stronger on 
the Reserve, as sentiment for abolition increased everywhere 
in the North. 

" Perhaps it is not too much to say," declared the Leader, 
" that the Western Reserve, where the spirit of liberty has taken 
deep root and will flourish forever, is the cradle of liberty in 
Ohio." 22 

20 The Wilmot Proviso was an amendment offered by David Wilinot, 
Pennsylvania Congressman, to an appropriation bill in 1846, requiring that 
slavery should be prohibited in any territory acquired as a result of the 
Mexican War. The proposal did not become effective. 

21 September 16, 1857. 22 October 2, 1855. 


Dogmatic in its politics, the Leader was certain that " the 
Democratic party in this state is receiving accessions of pro- 
slavery Whigs and pro-slavery Know Nothings; but at the same 
time it is losing its very best members by scores and thou- 
sands." 23 

A publisher with less fighting spirit than J. W. Gray possessed 
might well have been persuaded in these discouraging days 
that the printing of an opposition paper in such a community 
as Cleveland, or in any section of the Western Reserve, was 
hardly worth the necessary effort. Doubtless Gray did at times 
entertain some such question, but one must look beyond the 
columns of his paper for evidence of the fact. 

Among the manuscript letters of Salmon P, Chase, now in 
the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, are 
several written by Gray to the Senator, Governor, Cabinet mem- 
ber, and Chief Justice. In one of them, dated April 17, 1849, the 
editor discusses the political situation in the Reserve and its 
relation to the local press. Chase had recently gone to the Sen- 
ate by virtue of a Free Soil and Democratic coalition in the 
Ohio Legislature. He had no patience or sympathy with the 
Ohio Whigs. 

Gray pointed out that the Whig Party in the Reserve was able 
to maintain its supremacy largely because the political groups 
opposed to it were unable to act unitedly. " A union," he wrote 
to Chase, " could it be effected, among the Democrats, Liberty 
men and genuine free soilers would give liberty to us all, and it 
would be an easy matter to carry every county in the Reserve 
and make Ohio permanently an anti-administration state." 

The only difficulty in the way of such " fraternization is in 
party names and party pride," Gray continued. " There is no 
quarrel about principle." 

The Plain Dealer, Gray went on, was the " only paper in 

23 October 18, 1855. Even as late as 1875 (June 28) the Leader re- 
ferred to the " war in which the Democratic party was trying to destroy 
the Republic." 


northern Ohio that has dared defend free soil principles, poli- 
cies or men." Accordingly, the editor wrote, " it has been pro- 
posed to divide the Plain Dealer establishment with some good 
and genuine free soiler, one who can editorially discharge its 
duties and pecuniarily share its profits." 

Continuing: " I have to my friends in private consented to 
an arrangement of this kind, provided yourself & others politi- 
cally interested thought it best & would give it countenance & 
support." Of several men mentioned as suited to assume this 
co-editorship of the Plain Dealer, Gray greatly preferred Stan- 
ley Matthews, a friend and supporter of Chase. 24 

There was, however, an interesting condition attached to the 
proposal, as outlined by Gray. Local Democrats, he said, felt 
that the Free SoilersTiad " by far the Lion's share of the distri- 
bution of political appointments." There was " still undisposed 
of a small tit-bit in this county to wit, the clerkship of our 
county court," which the Democrats claim " they ought to 

Now, if the Free Soilers would let the Democratic central 
committee dictate this appointment, the whole scheme of di- 
viding the Plain Dealer could go through without a hitch. 
" Frankness requires me to add," wrote Gray, " that in all prob- 
ability myself will be the man, if left to the selection " of the 
committee. Gray, then, was willing to dispose of half of the 
Plain Dealer " at a fair valuation " if Chase would help him get 
a clerkship in the county court! 

24 Matthews began the practice of law at Cincinnati in 1840 and after 
a distinguished career as editor, county judge, state legislator, federal dis- 
trict attorney, and lieutenant colonel in the war, he succeeded Sherman in 
the United States Senate in 1877. He went to the United States Supreme 
Court in 1881. The Plain Dealer's confidence in Matthews suffered a 
sharp diminution. Long after Gray's death the paper opposed Senator 
Pendleton of Ohio because he voted to confirm Matthews's appointment 
to the court. Still later Pendleton gave support to the Cleveland Globe, 
established to harass the Plain Dealer. Matthews was a pre-war Democrat, 
but a post-war Republican. 


What Chase's answer to this suggestion was, or whether he 
made an answer, is not known. It is pretty certain that, had the 
plan gone through, the Plain Dealer would not now be celebrat- 
ing its hundredth birthday. No stability of purpose could have 
been attained by such a division of responsibility. 

The whole idea was probably soon dismissed from Gray's 
active mind. He had too many ramparts to watch to permit him 
the luxury of dreaming. Gray returned in memory to these belli- 
cose days when he wrote in 1853: 

We venture to say there is not another instance on record in the 
whole country where a paper has ever lived, much less prospered, 
surrounded by so many untoward circumstances, and we are free to 
confess that during eight years of this time, with all economy, in- 
dustry and zeal we could muster, no perceptible progress was made 
in the pecuniary condition of the concern. Had we been sick a 
month, it would have stopped. Had we been robbed of fifty dollars, 
it would have failed; and so we lived from hand to mouth, contend- 
ing for " dear life " and the supremacy of Democracy. 

Brighter days were ahead. Days even darker were also ahead. 
But, generally speaking, the Plain Dealer's fight for existence 
was to continue an uphill battle till after Gray had been in his 
grave for some years. 

From time to time appeared evidence of the fact that the 
wolf was still a reasonable distance from the print-shop door. 
The Plain Dealer bought new equipment, more attractive type; 
it occasionally expanded its pages. As the year 1856 opened, 
Gray took the occasion of a further physical enlargement and 
improvement of the paper to recall its humble beginning. 

Gray was now postmaster, the Democratic Party controlled 
the federal government, and, whatever the Western Reserve 
might think, the future looked rosy for the Cleveland editor who 
had so long preached minority doctrine to his home folk. He 
confesses a measure of his own pleasurable astonishment: 

The change in our business has been marvelous in our own eyes. 
We commenced with a single hand press and one swearing roller 


boy. We now have four hand presses, two steam power presses and 
have just ordered a third. Instead of one boy about our business, 
twenty-five find more or less steady employment every day. Instead 
of a little seven-by-nine publishing room, w T e have been compelled 
of late to use the entire interior of the Plain Dealer building the 
basement for a folding and printing room, the third floor for edi- 
torial, counting and mailing rooms; the second floor for a job room; 
the third for the news room and book bindery, and the fourth for a 
paper box manufactory. . . , 25 

These signs of Plain Dealer prosperity were observed in the 
other newspaper offices of Cleveland. In the midst of a wordy 
war with Editor Cowles, Gray quoted what had been said of 
him by the Forest City before its merger with the Leader: 

As a political editor he is unquestionably the keenest Locof oco in 
Ohio. ... A few years ago this was the banner Whig district in 
the Union, now it is Locof oco! The tactics of J. W. Gray are those 
of the uncle of his nephew; to divide and conquer. When the Free 
Soil tornado swept over Cheesedom he weighed anchor, furled his 
sails and scudded before the storm under bare poles; and when it 
had expended its fury he quietly sailed back to the old hunker 
moorings, without having lost a man or a spar; while his former 
huge antagonist lay perfectly powerless, stranded on the beach and 
full of bilge water. 

By browbeating one half and cajoling the other, he has succeeded 
in dismembering that once harmonious and omnipotent party and 
rendering men united by every tie of principle as hostile to each 
other as Kilkenny cats; while he and his friends are enjoying a 
delicious Belshazzar Feast of fat things plundered from the larder 
of the belligerents. . . , 26 

However well-merited this curious, half-ironic tribute may 
have been at the moment, it had reference merely to a passing 
phase of the long battle in which Gray was engaged. Not for 
long at a time did he find himself privileged to feast on " fat 
things plundered" from his enemies. 

The year before, the Plain Dealer had protested against the 

25 January 3, 1856. 

26 Quoted April 12, 1856. 


burden of local taxes. To illustrate, it printed a list of Cleveland 
taxpayers, with the amount each was then paying. Leonard Case 
headed the group. About midway in a list of fifty or so appeared 
the name of J. W. Gray, whose assessment for the year was 
$679.43. Obviously, the enemies of Gray, do all they could, 
had been unable to undermine the stability of the Plain Dealer 
as a business enterprise or to drive its proprietor very far toward 

Even with the Reserve's recurrent and increasing majorities 
for abolitionist candidates, and with the growing chasm be- 
tween the political thinking of Gray and of those on whom he 
must depend for sustenance even in the face of these unfavor- 
able conditions the Plain Dealer approached the period im- 
mediately preceding the Civil War with its resources ample 
and its fighting spirit undiminished. The continuous bombard- 
ment of the opposition press had failed of its main purpose: 
that of driving Gray and his enterprise out of the field. 

Down through these stormy years before the war the voice in 
this wilderness of Whiggery continued to sound, always with 
defiance, usually with confidence, and occasionally in trium- 
phant jubilation. 



Without railroads or ivires, early editors found it diffi- 
cult to get news for their columns. A late stage- 
coach meant an unhappy publisher. 

WHEN Troy fell to Agamemnon, the legend is that news of the 
victory was carried back to Greece by means of flaming beacons 
placed on mountaintops. 

One of the biggest problems publishers of the early newspa- 
pers had to solve was that of getting their news while it was 
still fresh enough to justify the name. 

When the Plain Dealer was founded in 1842 there were no 
railroads in Cleveland, and of course no communication by 
wire. Stagecoaches, the only dependable year-round agency of 
rapid transportation, connected Cleveland with cities to the 
east, west, and south, but the conditions of the highways made 
anything like quick service out of the question. Mail first came 
into Cleveland by rail in 1851. 

Eber D. Howe, first editor of the Herald, which was estab- 
lished in 1819, could at the start get mail only by horseback. He 
received it once a week from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Columbus, 
and Sandusky. Cleveland was then forty news days from Eu- 
rope and ten from New York. 

Not long before the appearance of the Plain Dealer the Her- 
ald declared it could get tidings from Europe in fifteen days, 
but there is little now to indicate that this was anything more 



than a boast, for without the transatlantic cable and with steam 
navigation still in its infancy it must have required a favorable 
combination of circumstances to fulfill the claim. At the same 
time the paper insisted that it could get news from Boston in 
forty-eight hours, from Rochester in twenty-four, and from 
Buffalo in twelve. 

It is to be remembered that George Washington had been 
buried before New York knew of his death, and that the Battle 
of New Orleans occurred two weeks after the end of the War 
of 1812 had been declared. This slowness of communication, 
a cross which the early editors had to bear, became a tragedy 
in the case of the men who lost their lives in front of Andrew 
Jackson's cotton ramparts. 

One of the most stirring chapters in the history of news-gath- 
ering in America is that relating to the rivalry among New 
York daily papers in pre-cable days as they strove to outdo 
each other in getting word from Europe. The reports came, of 
course, by ship, to be picked up on arrival off shore and hur- 
ried by whatever facilities could be devised to the newspapers 
on Manhattan. 

This costly competition led finally to the organization of the 
New York Associated Press, the first step toward the great 
Associated Press which today serves its newspaper clients and 
the public in every section of the country. This rivalry on the 
waterfront was in full play when the first issue of the Plain 
Dealer made its appearance. 

No Cleveland paper of that day could afford the expense of 
maintaining a carrier-pigeon service for the reporting of news, 
as some of the Eastern papers were doing. Neither could they 
indulge in the New York luxury of running pony expresses. 

Their surest means of communication was by lake vessels, 
but this, of course, ceased functioning when the navigation 
season closed. As early as 1830 there was a daily line from Buf- 
falo to Detroit, with a stop at Cleveland. This kept the Plain 
Dealer and its competitors in touch, though somewhat be- 


latedly, with news occurrences east and west. Between seasons 
of navigation, however, news came principally by stagecoach 
traveling over uncertain roads, or did not come at all. 

These pioneer editors perforce depended to a large extent 
on their exchanges for information of what went on in the 
world. The nearer these sources were to the Eastern seaboard 
and to Washington, the more in demand they were among the 
Middle Western papers. By the same logic Cleveland papers 
were in constant and increasing demand farther west as ex- 
changes. So popular were they in this role that all the Cleveland 
papers were forced finally to reduce the number of free ex- 
changes they would permit. 

The New York Sun is credited with originating the idea that 
local news had reader value. The common assumption had been 
that any occurrence which the community would know about 
anyway need not be reported. But part of the Suns news creed 
may have owed its origin to the fact that anything except local 
news was difficult to get. 

In Cleveland the " local column " did not appear until 1851, 
and the Plain Dealer later claimed credit for having the first 
one in Cleveland. 1 This feature was in the years ahead to en- 
gage some of the brightest lights in the local field, including for 
the Plain Dealer Artemus Ward, James D. Cleveland, and A. M. 

At the period of the Plain Dealers birth, however, all the 
editorial emphasis was put on news of a kind now considered 
important, perhaps, but dull: presidential messages, routine 
performances of Congress, dynastic developments in Europe, 
and, inevitably, the doings of the big party figures. The Plain 
Dealer inherited this tradition, and freed itself of it only when 
the general trend in newspaper-making pointed to the new day. 

Two days after the launching of the evening edition, J. W. 
Gray registered an editorial complaint characteristic of pre- 
telegraph days: 

1 November 5, 1852. 



We have not had an eastern mail since the commencement of our 
daily paper. This is taxing genius as well as patience. Uncle Sam 
must have a very queer notion of western editors to suppose they 
can make a newspaper without news, 2 

The same complaint had been expressed by the Herald be- 
fore the Plain Dealer made its appearance: 

Should any reader inquire, "What has the editor been about 
today? " his answer is, overhauling bushels of old exchanges brought 
up by the boats, in search of news. Did you ever look for a needle 
in a haystack? 3 

Another paragraph from the Herald, this of a later date, 
throws light on the editorial embarrassment: 

Thanks to Capt. Kelsey of the Chesapeake for a bundle of late 
eastern, Mr. Vredenburgh of the Wells Co. Express for later south- 
ern, the Empire for Detroit papers and Mr. Robinson of the Buffalo 
Pilot office for that journal of yesterday morning. 4 

The comment is characteristic of the day. Many similar ex- 
pressions of appreciation are to be found in the columns of all 
the Cleveland papers at this period. The editors were, indeed, 
dependent on the goodwill and the co-operation of their friends. 

The Plain Dealer protests that stagecoach-drivers arriving 
from the East insist on delivering passengers and baggage be- 
fore unloading their mail. This, the editor remarked, delays 
publication and often makes it impossible to print important 
news till the next day. Gray threatens to take the complaint to 
Washington unless the drivers change their habits. 5 

" The mails are at fault," declared the Herald on another oc- 
casion. " The Southern last night brought no papers from Cin- 
cinnati or Columbus the Buffalo brought none from that 

2 April 9, 1845. 

3 November 18, 1841. 

4 June 2, 1846. 

5 August 15, 1846. 


quarter the Pittsburgh nothing beyond that city and the 
western never brings any news nohow. * Poor picking/ as the 
newspaper beggars say to our exchange table." 6 

Later in the year the Herald and Gazette boasted of the " ex- 
traordinary dispatch " which it had shown in getting President 
Tyler's annual message to its readers. It was delivered to Con- 
gress Tuesday noon, set up en route in the office of the Daily 
American at Pittsburgh, and received by the Herald and Ga- 
zette at ten thirty Friday evening. 

The annual message of the President to Congress was con- 
sidered news of prime importance, and sometimes it practically 
monopolized the scant space the editor had available for news. 
On the Western Reserve competition ran high for the credit 
of getting these state papers first. It was found that if the mes- 
sage coming by stage mail could somehow be intercepted, at 
Ravenna or Hudson, for instance, and brought the remaining 
distance to Cleveland by horse and buggy or by a messenger 
on horseback, considerable time could be saved. 

Thus, while the stage lumbered on its slow way toward the 
city, making its stops at every town and hamlet along the route, 
the messenger, inspired by knowledge of print-shop deadlines, 
could avoid delays and leave the public conveyance far be- 
hind. The modern idea of speed in the carrying and delivery 
of mail had not yet taken possession of the Post Office Depart- 
ment at Washington. 

In one instance this rivalry between the Plain Dealer and the 
Herald led to a situation embarrassing to one editor and im- 
mensely amusing to the other. Gray accused Josiah A. Harris 
of the Herald of driving to Ravenna with a mail pouch key in 
one pocket and a rat-tail file in the other. The key, he said, had 
been given Harris by Postmaster Spencer for use in opening a 
pouch and extracting a copy of President Folk's message. The 
file, according to Gray, was to force the lock if the key didn't fit! 

Harris, it was said, got the message and was driving back 

January 13, 1841. 


toward Cleveland when he was overtaken by a friend of Gray 7 
with a speedier span of horses and halted. He told the Herald 
man that unless he would agree to share the fruit of his enter- 
prise with the Plain Dealer, the tables would be turned and 
Gray would get the message first. Harris, according to the story, 
capitulated at once and, to Gray's immense surprise, delivered 
to him personally a copy of the presidential communication. 

Harris admitted enough of the story to make it meat for 
Gray's caustic pen. The day after the Plain Dealer's gleeful 
publication of the rat-tail file story, 8 the Herald admitted that 
its editor had indeed got the key for use at the Ravenna post- 
office from the chief clerk of the Cleveland office. Harris said 
he knew of no regulation touching the matter. As for the rat-tail 
file or any other file intended to force a lock on one of Uncle 
Sam's mail bags, that part of the story, he insisted, merely grew 
out of Gray's spiteful imagination. 

Many times thereafter the Plain Dealer returned to the theme 
of the file. Whether true or not and it was probably not 
the picture of the highly respectable Harris stooping to force 
a mail pouch lock was too good to abandon. 

In the scant correspondence of Gray now available for local 
research is a letter from the editor to the postmaster at Hudson. 
Gray is anxious to " beat the Herald " on the President's mes- 
sage. " An express from Hudson here," he wrote, " would come in 
advance of the mail some three hours & I have thought if it came 
to you or any of your neighbors it might be taken by a Post 
rider immediately upon the opening of your mail and brot to 
me at least in time to set it up before the Herald." 

News-gathering was thus a highly competitive enterprise, 
where the demand outstripped the supply, and the rival editors 
overlooked little in their efforts to win. In 1847 the Plain Dealer 
told the story of a Herald man's " perfidy " in stealing papers 

7 This friend, wrote W. Scott Robison in the Plain Dealer many years 
later (October 17, 1900) was " a Mr. Collins of Ravenna/' 

8 December 11, 1845. 


intended for Gray's use. 9 Nicholas Bartlett of the Plain Dealer 
staff was in Buffalo, bought copies of local papers, and sent 
them to Cleveland in care of a steamboat captain. On arrival 
of the boat at Cleveland a man representing himself as friendly 
to the Plain Dealer volunteered to deliver the papers to Gray. 
Instead he took them to the Herald, and the Herald got on the 
street the important news they contained before the Plain 
Dealer even heard of it. 

Much of the legendary animosity shown against an editor 
in the office of postmaster by his local competitors was based 
on their complaint that he was unfair in handling their mail, 
and particularly their newspaper exchanges. The Herald and 
Leader fought Postmaster Gray; the Plain Dealer and Her- 
ald fought Postmaster Cowles; the Plain Dealer and Leader 
fought Postmaster Benedict. The ritual was fixed. 

The difficulty of news transmission in the early days made it 
necessary for papers situated like those in Cleveland to main- 
tain corps of special correspondents scattered among important 
news sources which, in review, seem out of proportion to the 
general smallness of their enterprises. The first task of Gray at 
the launching of the daily was to secure correspondents who 
were expected to do the best they could in getting their reports 
to the home office. 

By the fall of 1845 the Plain Dealer was ready to announce 
that it had regular correspondents at New York, New Orleans, 
St. Louis, and Cincinnati. 10 Later announcements were of the 
appointment of correspondents at Washington " and Colum- 
bus. 12 The former had for a long time been representing the 
New York Evening Post at the national capital. 

The coming of the railroads contributed greatly to a solution 
of the problem of news transmission. It did not, however, pro- 

9 June 19 and 20. 

10 Septembers. 

11 November 26, 1845. 

12 November 29, 1845. 


vide the whole answer. That answer awaited the arrival of the 
telegraph, and even then was slow in coming. 

The Plain Dealer and telegraphy came into existence almost 
simultaneously, though several years were to elapse before the 
paper got any advantage of it. In 1842, the Plain Dealers birth 
year, the first proposal was made in Congress that the federal 
government appropriate money to give the Morse invention a 
practical test. The amount was thirty thousand dollars. In Feb- 
ruary and March 1843 the bill was enacted. In May 1844, a 
few months before the appearance of the daily Plain Dealer, 
there flashed from Washington to Baltimore the historic query: 
" What hath God wrought? " The telegraph had proved its pos- 

But not till 1847 did the wires reach Cleveland. In that year 
the city council authorized the Lake Erie Telegraph Company 
to run its wires into the city and on September 15 the first tele- 
graph office was opened. The wires had reached Buffalo in 1845 
and one year later Pittsburgh was linked into the rapidly ex- 
panding net work of communication. Cleveland and Cincin- 
nati came into it two years behind Buffalo. By 1851 there were 
more than fifty different telegraph companies in operation in 
the United States, each serving a particular region. Out of 
them finally in 1856 emerged the Western Union. 

The Cleveland papers, however, had not waited for the open- 
ing of the Cleveland telegraph office before making use of the 
new agency. As soon as the wires reached Buffalo they arranged 
to have news from the East telegraphed to that point, whence 
by whatever means could be devised it was brought on to Cleve- 
land. This arrangement was reflected immediately in an im- 
provement in the Cleveland papers, so far as freshness of news 
was concerned. That the plan was not entirely satisfactory, 
however, is indicated by this statement from the Herald: 

The proprietors of the press in this city have unitedly withdrawn 
from using the magnetic telegraph as a medium of receiving news 
until it shall be completed to New York. They have been using it for 


a month and without satisfactory benefit to their interests, owing to 
the fact that our reports have been meagre and unsatisfactory to 
ourselves and our readers, and this event attended with an expense 
that has not and, we fear, cannot be met by any return. 13 

This boycott of the wires was shortlived, however. The pro- 
prietors could not afford to ignore such an agency of quick 
communication, even if the nearest receiving office was two 
hundred miles away. 

By 1854 the announcement was made that the three papers, 
the Plain Dealer, the Herald, and the Leader, had contracted 
with the newly formed New York Associated Press. Cleveland 
would now get its news simultaneously with New York. 14 That 
coming from Europe by ship would be sent immediately on ar- 
rival, and all reports would be more complete than theretofore. 

Still seven years away was the completion of the first trans- 
continental telegraph line, when the East and West met at Salt 
Lake City. " The telegraph spans the continent/' said the Plain 
Dealer in 1861, quoting the message sent by Brigham Young to 
J. H. Wade of Cleveland, president of the Pacific Telegraph 
Company: " Utah has not seceded, but is formed for the consti- 
tution and laws of our once happy country." 15 

Two years later, after Gray's death, the Plain Dealer sug- 
gested that the raid of the Confederate Morgan into Ohio 
might have succeeded " if it had not been for the telegraph. 
The lightning dogged his steps; it outran his jaded steeds; it 
put swift riders on his trail, gunboats up the river and armed 
men in his front; it encompassed him with the yeomanry of 
Ohio and stripped him of men, cannon and steeds. Let us sa- 
lute the telegraph! " 16 

How much more willing to salute the telegraph the editor 
would have been could he have foreseen the transmission of 

13 August 5, 1846. 

14 Herald, November 4, 1854. 

15 October 18. 

16 July 23, 1863. 


pictures by wire, which would with the years become part 
of the routine of newspaper-making! 

In the summer of 1902 a local news item in the Plain Dealer 
contained this opening paragraph: 

The sending of pictures from one city to another by means of a 
telegraph wire and current of electricity was shown yesterday to be 
feasible by practical experiments held in this city. 17 

For hours, the reporter related, wire pictures " sped back and 
forth" between the Plain Dealer office and the Chamber of 
Commerce. Pictures of Harvey D. Goulder, Tom L. Johnson, 
and John D. Rockefeller were printed on the first page to indi- 
cate the results of the new enterprise. 

More than thirty years were to pass, however, before the 
wirephoto process would be perfected and the Associated Press 
could send across the continent today's picture to illustrate to- 
day's news. Between the two dates lay a ceaseless struggle to 
make practical the dream of hitching the camera to the gallop- 
ing steeds of journalism. 

The difficulty experienced by the early Cleveland publishers 
in getting news for prompt publication in pre-railroad, pre- 
telegraph days was, of course, common to all pioneer news- 
paper-makers. It was given special emphasis here because of 
the distance from the chief news-producing sources like Wash- 
ington and the Atlantic seaboard. Between the present news- 
paper necessity of daily discarding scores of columns of news 
reports unusable because of space limitations, and the necessity 
of a century ago of scratching for the little copy needed to 
meet scant requirements, lies a vast difference which marks not 
only the march of time but the advance in technological per- 
fection which at so many points touches the problem of twenti- 
eth-century publication. 

Editorial zeal, however, remains unchanged. Editor Gray 
sought the best by the means at hand. His successors could not 
be excused for doing less. 

17 July 2. 



These editors were a jolly band of blackguards in their 
references to one another. Understandable su- 
perlatives punctuated their rhetoric. 

"THERE is a line in moral prostitution beyond which no ex- 
ample can be contagious. The Plain Dealer editor has passed 
that line. . . . Wl 

Forthright and unequivocal was the Cleveland Leaders 
opinion of Editor Gray of the Plain Dealer in the days when the 
"Leader was still considered a newcomer in Cleveland and Gray 
was nearing the end of his active career. And it may be said, 
in all candor, that the Plain Dealers opinion of the Leaders 
editor was rhetorically similar to the Leaders estimate of Gray. 

No change the century has wrought in the picture of news- 
paper publication and changes are, of course, innumerable 
and vitally important is perhaps more striking than that in 
the editorial attitude toward one's journalistic brothers down 
the street. Early nineteenth-century editors were experts in the 
art of hurling epithets, particularly at one another. Were one 
now to accept the appraisal of their journalistic contemporaries, 
the Plain Dealer was edited in its early years by an unprinci- 
pled blackguard, the Herald by men utterly lost to any sense 

1 April 14, 1856. 



of decency, and the Leader by one known far and wide as an 
unmitigated liar. 

It was a custom of the time when party spirit ran high. The 
editor was almost of necessity a political leader and spokesman, 
and newspaper readers were supposedly much amused when 
the proprietor found himself with ink on his shirt front as well 
as on his presses. In no sense peculiar to Cleveland was this 
habit of editors' abusing each other. It was characteristic not of 
Cleveland or the Western Reserve, but of the times. 

Much has been written of the part newspapers have had in 
building up their communities, the improvements they have 
brought about; the rascality they have exposed, the political 
offices to which their editors have sometimes climbed. All this 
is familiar. There is also this outer side of the early editor's daily 
life. Just how much esteemed was the " esteemed contempo- 


rary r 

An Associated Press dispatch from Berlin not long ago re- 
ported that two German editors had been fined seventy-two 
dollars each for accusing a fellow editor of " abominable 
thoughtlessness and shocking untruthfulness." Such frivolous 
criticism as that would in other days have been answered here 
in kind, and not with a summons. Only on rare occasions was 
there in Cleveland an editorial resort to the law, and then the 
man who made the complaint usually had his trouble for his 

Concerning Gray of the Plain Dealer, the Leader had this to 
say in 1856: 

As a warning to any who may wish to emulate this embodiment 
of cardinal sin we shall drag him forth from his hiding place and 
exhibit him as showmen exhibit venomous reptiles so safely se- 
cured that even the timid need not fear to approach and look upon 
the most marvelous compound of all that is ludicrous and wicked, 
presumptuous and weak, hateful and pitiable, that was ever pre- 
sented to their gaze. . . . All those weapons which constitute the 
natural defence of the base and cowardly circumstantial false- 
hood, defiant airs, crouching submission, pertinacity, forgery, per- 


jury are as familiar to Joseph W. Gray as beads are to a monk or 
the spots on cards to a gambler. . . . 2 

And so on, for a column or so. Comes the afternoon of the 
same day. The Plain Dealer replies, branding the Leader's emi- 
nent editor " a catiff wretch . . . one of the most base and in- 
famous of creatures who, wearing the garb of a human, has 
nearly all the elements of a demon. ... A fellow whose fruit- 
ful brain can produce a whole catacomb of lies in one single 
night resembles so much the prince of the regions of Pluto that 
if he be not his Satanic Majesty in person, he is worse still, be- 
ing one of his dastardly and treacherous imps. . . ." 

It was just a matter of routine for Gray to read in the Cleve- 
land Times in 1847 that he was a " lying bank pimp a liar both 
by instinct and choice." 3 

The Plain Dealer ignored the attack this time. Gray probably 
felt that he couldn't be bothered! Or he may have thought that 
this custom of hurling invectives was already getting old, for as 
far back as 1837, before either the Times or the Plain Dealer 
had appeared, the Gazette was accusing the editor of the Ad- 
vertiser of " low-lived scurrility " and of acting as mouthpiece 
of " the contemptible and office-hungry puppies with whom he 
herds." 4 

It was one of the Mores of the period, justifying the non- 
chalance of the editor of the True Democrat, when the Plain 
Dealer declared that his conduct " convinces people that he is 
not only a lying blackguard at heart, but is wanting sense to 
conceal the degrading weakness." 5 On another occasion the 
Plain Dealer had said the True Democrat "lied like an epi- 
taph." 6 

Answering a statement by an even more eminent contempo- 
rary, the Plain Dealer now under the editorship of Stephen- 
son declared that " the Cleveland Herald has put the cap 

2 April 11. 5 August 8, 1849. 

3 September 8. 6 July 17, 1847. 

4 March 11. 


sheaf on the abominable record it has made for itself for cant, 
hypocrisy, phariseeism and falsehood." 7 

Not all the editorial missiles flying at the head of the Herald 
editor, however, came from across the party fence. Sometimes 
they originated on the Herald's own side. 

The Forest City Democrat condescendingly remarked of the 
Herald: " We can pity the follies of virtuous dotage; but imbe- 
cility united with falsehood excites only our contempt! " 8 

The Leader used more detail: 

" Old Granny " Herald is getting to be quite cross and ugly lately. 
Its fangs are all extracted, not a tooth has it got left; it simply 
munches the little morsel a benevolent public gives it. It reminds 
us of an old superannuate who has been reduced to skin and bones. 9 

Occasionally a shell from some distant Big Bertha would 
come screaming through the air to land on lower Superior 
Street. " Western editors," declared Editor Bennett of the New 
York Herald, inspired by some now forgotten incident, " are 
all whiskey bottles, their reporters are bottles of whiskey and 
their papers have all the fumes of that beverage without any of 
its strength." 10 

Abhorring generalities, the Leader was inclined to particu- 
larize, insisting that " about 90 per cent of all the whiskey, gin, 
brandy, rum and other alcoholic liquor in this country are con- 
sumed by Democrats." n 

This was intended as a flank attack on the old enemy, the 
Plain Dealer. Not often, however, was the assault so indirect. 

" The editor of the Leader," the Plain Dealer insisted, " is the 
original ass that Balaam mounted." 12 Years earlier, using the 
barnyard for inspiration, the Plain Dealer had declared that 

7 September 23, 1863. 

8 February 8, 1854. 

9 June 28, 1859. 

10 Quoted in the Leader, July 11, 1864. 

11 September 12, 1880. 

12 April 13, 1880. 


"the maudlin twaddle of our neigher (The Leader) reminds 
us of the sickly braying of a superannuated ass." 13 

The simile indeed seems enticing. Thus the Plain Dealer: 
" The Leader has a sharp correspondent in Columbus. He signs 
himself S. S. Sly dog! He thinks by leaving the A off, he won't be 
known." 14 

The Plain Dealer, the Leader announced, " can crowd about 
as many brazen falsehoods into the space of an ordinary news- 
paper column as there are hairs on a good-sized dog." 15 

" The Leader/' declared the Plain Dealer, " is a reckless liar, 
a venomous slanderer, a selfish bloodsucker, a damage to the 
city and a disgrace to journalism." 18 

The Times came to the defense of Postmaster Spencer, then 
under attack by the Plain Dealer: 

We cherish no unkind feelings of resentment toward the nominal 
editor of the Plain Dealer; but would, on the contrary, rejoice over 
the faintest gleam of hope that he could ever rise from the depths 
of moral and political degradation into which he has fallen. But, 
alas! for human nature. We would as soon think of groping for roses 
and mignonette amid the snows of December as to expect the sem- 
blance of magnanimity or of generous honor from a man upon whose 
brow is written " SCOUNDREL " as unmistakably legible as the brand 
of God upon the forehead of Cain. 17 

Occasionally, it appears, one editor or another would roll up 
his sleeves, sharpen half a dozen pencils, draw a deep breath 
and really go to town astride his good steed Invective. Here is 
an editorial from the Plain Dealer: 


For a cool, deliberate, downright lie commend us to the Herald. 
Our other neighbors may prevaricate step mincingly round a lie 

13 February 20, 1863. 

14 March 8, 1862. 

15 May 8, 1885. 

16 March 22, 1888. 

17 March 31, 1847. 



perhaps tell a white lie (as Mrs. Opie 1S calls it) misrepresent 
mangle and mutilate facts twist and squirm like a small pattern of 
eels but they " pale their ineffectual fire " before the blazing bright- 
ness of the Herald man who appears to be the eldest and favorite 
son of the " father of lies." In the first place, our other neighbors 
haven't had the Herald's experience. The Herald has been lying now 
for nearly twenty years. The paper of last evening reached the 240th 
number of the 19th volume. Then again, the Herald has a genius for 
lying a real, inborn, devil-descended genius for it that can't be 
acquired even by twenty years of your mere stupid, plodding perse- 
verance. The Herald is among liars what Michael Angelo is among 
sculptors, Titian or Rubens among painters, a full-grown Shanghai 
among common chickens or Dick Turpin among highwaymen. It 
achieves its loftiest lies under an inspiration a divine afflatus. 
Your mere mechanical liar can never hope to equal them. Let him 
try his hand at a Paradise Lost or a Venus de Medici or " Death on a 
Pale Horse " or something else more within the range of his powers. 
Give up all hope, young enthusiast, of rivalling the Heraldl You will 
only grow old and gray-headed in the attempt and still at the close 
of life when your last lie is told the Herald looms far above your 
lowly plain, an inaccessible Himalaya of lying. . . , 19 

In the campaign of 1856, when the new Republican Party 
was still trying its wings and party animosities ran deep in the 
Western Reserve, one Ossian E. Dodge 20 traveled the local 
circuit of the Fremont political rallies, singing a song which 
the Leader took pleasure in printing. 21 The substance of its 
several stanzas was that the Devil, wanting someone of earth 
to do his dirty work, looked over the field of possibilities and 
chose J. W. Gray as his lieutenant in sin. 

18 Amelia Opie (1769-1853) was an English novelist, poet, and 
moralist who lived at Norwich and wrote for London magazines. 

19 October 6, 1853. 

20 Ossian E. Dodge was famed as a Whig song-campaigner. He or- 
ganized a singing troupe which toured the United States. He established 
a music store in Cleveland. He was born at Cayuga, New York, in 1820 
and died in London in 1876. 

21 October 29, 1856. 


The chorus ran thus: 

So Gray may spread himself and write 
And pull the devil's wires, 
For he can boast by legal right 
Of being prince of liars. 

When, by appointment of Lincoln, Editor Cowles of the 
Leader became postmaster of Cleveland, the Plain Dealer ex- 
pressed much the same opinion of the President's choice as 
other Cleveland papers had voiced of Gray's selection to the 
same office eight years earlier. 

The contest for the office had been between Cowles and 
Editor Benedict of the Herald. Of the Cowles appointment the 
Plain Dealer said: 

To select so obnoxious an individual personally on the score of 
being a ruffian Republican is more than even Clevelanders can bear. 
The appointment of Cowles, personally unfit, simply because con- 
nected with a sheet owned and used by the irrepressibles to slaughter 
the conservatives and put down the liberal sentiments of the party 
looks so much like " rule or ruin " that the masses are indignant. 22 

Perhaps Cowles had the indictment due him, for not long 
before, the Leader had this to say of Gray: 

If we felt inclined to say what kind of statue we should set up to 
represent vice, immorality and the sum of all human villainies, like 
for instance the one-eyed monster we read of in the story of Sinbad 
the Sailor, we should say that we would take Gray just as nature 
made him, paint him black as his reputation and then stick him up 
in front of the Plaindealer office as an advertisement of that con- 
cern and to denote the headquarters of the bogus lottery swindlers 
located in his building. 23 

22 March 10, 1861. 

23 June 14, 1858. This was a blow below the belt, for three months 
before this editorial was printed Gray had had an eye shot out in an ac- 
cident which marked the beginning of the end of his active career. 


So back and forth the battle raged. On occasion abuse would 
give way to good-natured kidding. The Plain Dealer insisted 
that Cowles went to Europe at the beginning of the Civil War 
in order to escape military service and, finding it impossible 
to stay away long enough, on his return had his teeth pulled to 
disqualify him from soldiering. 24 

The first Sunday paper in Cleveland was the Voice., which, 
starting in 1871, continued in existence twenty-seven years. In 

1877 the Leader and the Herald entered the Sundav field and 


the event caused a stir in local church circles. Ministers berated 
publishers who chose thus to desecrate the Sabbath. This was 
a fresh opportunity for the Plain Dealer to belabor its com- 
petitors. The Sunday Plain Dealer was not to appear till 1885. 

The Plain Dealer now controlled by Armstrong printed 
a first-page cartoon captioned " Two Wicked Editors," repre- 
senting the devil whispering in Cowles's ear his directions for 
the next Sunday issue, while the Herald editor stood by shame- 
facedly awaiting his turn for instructions. 25 

Modestly the Plain Dealer said of itself that it " is the only 
truly good paper in the city. It does not print on the Sabbath 
day. Christian families cannot well do without it. Piety and the 
Plain Dealer walk hand in hand." 26 

The Presbyterian Union of Cleveland adopted resolutions 
condemning Sunday papers "both as news and advertising 
mediums." "We may add," remarked the Plain Dealer, "that 
nothing has ever given us so much pain as the sight of Mr. 
Cowles arrayed against the great moral element in this com- 
munity." 27 

A few years later, after the Sunday Plain Dealer itself had 
been in the field a short time, it published a Sunday evening 
extra with the result of a much-advertised prize fight. The 

24 June 15, 1887. 

25 June 9, 1877. 

26 June 4, 1877. 

27 February 3, 1880. 


Leader protested against the desecration. The Plain Dealer 

The sanctimonious old granny of the Cleveland Leader raises up 
her withered hands and turns up the whites of her blinking old eyes 
in pious horror at the wickedness of the PLAIN DEALER in publishing 
an extra edition for the account of the Dempsey-LeBlanche prize 
fight. It would never think of doing so shocking a thing! Oh, no, 
never! never! never! 2S 

Readers, of course, recognized that at least half of this ebb 
and flow of vituperation was written with fingers crossed. For 
years Gray of the Plain Dealer had heaped frequent abuse on 
Harris of the Herald. Finally announcement was made one day 
that Harris was leaving the Herald, nothing being said as to 
what new connection he would make or what new line of ac- 
tivity he would undertake. The vinegar in Gray's inkwell turned 
instantly to liquid honey: 

We recognize in him [Harris] a gentleman who has honored the 
profession he has left and we hope his acknowledged industry, econ- 
omy and known integrity in the life he has so long devoted to the 
public good has secured to him a competency which in his declin- 
ing days he needs and so worthily merits. 29 

Alas! Harris had left the Herald to become editor of the 
Leaderl Was ever a kindly instinct more cruelly rebuffed! If 
Gray had ever spoken more bitterly against any newspaper and 
its editor than he had against the Herald and Harris it was 
against the Leader and whatever man occupied its editorial 
chair. Many a laugh in town was born of the Plain Dealers un- 
intended cordial endorsement of a Leader editor. 

While Cowles was in the East, some understudy reprinted a 
paragraph from the Cincinnati Enquirer relating to Armstrong 
of the Plain Dealer. Cowles wrote Armstrong a personal note 
regretting that the Leader had made the reprint. To show his 

28 March 16, 1886. 

29 January 6, 1858. 


contempt for the attack, Armstrong then copied the supposedly 
offending paragraph in the Plain Dealer: 

When the snarling, ill-conditioned editor of the Cleveland Plain 
Dealer gets drunk and falls out of the third story window of his 
boarding house, people in the street who catch a glimpse of his 
florid face and sanguinary hair cry out: " Behold, that blazing 
meteor! " They afterward gather up the quivering, glutinous, odor- 
ous mass on the pavement, sweep it up and carry it into the house 
and put it to bed. 30 

So disturbed was the Leader by the moral and political con- 
duct of the Plain Dealer under Armstrong that it forgot the 
terrific imprecations it had heaped on the paper as it had been 
conducted by Gray. Fourteen years after Gray's death it was 
moved to remark: ** The bones of J. W. Gray must rattle in their 
grave over such prostitution of the paper that he once edited." S1 

So the public is let into the secret it probably knew already, 
that the early Cleveland editors like early newspaper editors 
in other small cities really felt much less moral indignation 
against their local contemporaries than their printed diatribes 
would indicate. Only occasionally, as for instance when Coon 
of the Herald physically assaulted Gray on the street, were 
these hostilities anything more than rough persiflage staged for 
the amusement of readers, who doubtless got many a hearty 
guffaw as they perused their favorite papers. 

It seems now to have been rather crude and questionable 
horseplay. It is, however, part of the picture which some mod- 
erns like to label the good old days in American journalism, 

30 August 9, 1876. 

31 October 7, 1876. 



The Plain Dealer chooses to go with Douglas on the Le- 
compton issue, and the editor loses his postmaster- 
ship. The National Democrat established 
to harass him. 

" MR. DOUGLAS, I desire you to remember that no Democrat 
ever yet differed from an administration of his own choice 
without being crushed. Beware the fate of Tallmadge and 
Rives." x 

" Mr. President, I wish you to remember that General Jack- 
son is dead." 

It was a White House scene which would be remembered as 
politically historic. It paved the way for a dramatic episode 
of Plain Dealer history. A self-possessed, dignified, imperious 
chief executive, accustomed to having his own way, faced the 
outspoken defiance of his party's strongest character. Contrast- 
ing figures, this President from Pennsylvania and this Vermont- 
born Senator from Illinois; Buchanan with his more than six- 
foot stature; Douglas, the " Little Giant," with his scant five 
feet four inches of height; looking sternly into each other's 
eyes, trying to measure the depth of each other's purpose. 

The issue between them was the Lecornpton constitution re- 

1 Democratic senators whose careers were destroyed by their resist- 
ance to certain policies of Andrew Jackson. 



cently adopted by the legislature of the territory of Kansas for 
submission to Congress. The date was 1857. Back of the issue 
lay the tragedy of " bleeding Kansas " and the whole tremen- 
dous issue of slavery in the territories. The Lecompton proposal 
was a pro-slavery pronouncement, designed to give slavery a 
foothold in a region it had not yet invaded. 

Buchanan insisted that the procedure at Lecompton had been 
regular; that he was duty-bound to submit the constitution to 
Congress. Douglas, with most of the Democratic North, in- 
sisted the project was shot through and through with fraud. 
When the President demanded that support of Lecompton be 
made a test of party loyalty, the fiery little Senator rebelled. 

Feeling between the two men had been growing in bitterness 
ever since Buchanan succeeded Pierce in the presidency. After 
this interview at the White House, the two were openly and 
outspokenly hostile. 

J. W. Gray was postmaster of Cleveland by appointment of 
Pierce. By all political rules he was entitled to hold the office 
as long as Buchanan remained President. But when the party 
split on the issue of slavery extension, Gray could feel no hesi- 
tation as to which group was entitled to the Plain Dealer's 
whole-hearted support. Gray had been a friend and follower of 
Douglas from the beginning. At the moment his thinking on 
the subject of permitting slavery to spread into new areas was 
identical with that of Douglas. Gray had become increasingly 
critical of the Buchanan administration as it approached, un- 
wittingly, the catastrophe of Civil War. 

The Plain Dealer had advocated Douglas's nomination for 
president in 1856. Early that year it had noted the return of 
Buchanan from England and the general opinion that he was 
preparing to run for president. 2 It insisted that Buchanan would 
have to change the position he had taken in 1848 and get on the 
Popular Sovereignty platform if he hoped to win the nomina- 
tion. For this, it said, is now " Democratic policy/' 
2 January 31. 


Within a few days Gray declared for Douglas. 3 He would 
have been satisfied with a renomination of Pierce. Gray person- 
ally reported for his paper the Cincinnati convention, which re- 
jected both Douglas and Pierce and named the only man ever to 

be elected President from Pennsylvania. 


Though he had opposed Buchanan before the convention, 
Gray appeared ready to bury the hatchet after the nomination 
was made. Before most of the delegates had reached home the 
Plain Dealer said: 

The nomination of James Buchanan is conceded by all parties to 
be equivalent of an election. . . . His past is so well known to his 
countrymen that not a hesitating doubt can enter the mind of a 
Democrat that his future course will be alike eminently useful and 
honorable to the country. 4 

Gray had become postmaster in April 1853. As soon as the 
quarters could be made ready, he moved the office from the 
Herald Building on Bank Street (West 6th) to Water Street 
(West 9th) near the comer of St. Clair. This seems now of 
course an absurdly out-of-the-way location. Gray's critics de- 
clared it to be so then, even though the center of the business 
life of the city was near the foot of Superior Street. 

Douglas never recovered from his disappointment that Bu- 
chanan rather than he was made the Cincinnati nominee in 
1856. The more evident became his lack of sympathy with the 
course of affairs at Washington, the more difficult it became for 
Gray whom the Leader called " the Little Giant's pet dwarf " 
to maintain both his party regularity and his personal loy- 

As early as 1855 the Leader insisted: 

The truth is that the editor of the Plain Dealer in his innermost 
heart despises Pierce . . . but if he were to express his honest con- 
victions a certain postmaster might be removed from office without 
much ceremony. 5 

February 5, 1856. 

4 June 6, 1856. 

5 October 9. 


Up to this time, however, there is nothing in the record to 
indicate that Gray was doing otherwise than playing the game 
as a good and regular Democrat. 

Near the end of 1857 the Plain Dealer paid a duty tribute to 
the administration: 

So far no administration during the first quarter of its existence 
has won more popular respect than that of Mr. Buchanan. . . . On 
the Kansas question Mr. Buchanan declares he stands on the prin- 
ciple of the Nebraska bill. So do we. He regrets the Lecompton con- 
vention did not submit the whole of their constitution to the people 
so do we. He desires a speedy settlement of this Kansas matter in 
a way to do the least violence to acknowledged Democratic prin- 
ciple and precedents. So do we. Douglas we know desires the same 
thing, and if the Republican party are now anxious for peace, as they 
say they are, and willing to submit the question of slavery to the 
people of the Territory, instead of forcing it on congress, the whole 
country can as easily become a unit upon this matter as upon the 
Mormon question. 6 

This was, of course, after the action at Lecompton, but be- 
fore the issue had become strained. It ignored the growing feel- 
ing of hostility of Douglas toward the President. Always ready 
to put the worst interpretation on anything Gray did, the oppo- 
sition press said he was more intent on keeping his federal of- 
fice than on maintaining a political consistency. 

Congress by a party vote and against the appeal of Douglas 
decided, on May 4, 1858, to admit Kansas as a state under the 
Lecompton constitution. But on August 2 the people of the 
territory refused to accept the gift of statehood on the terms 
the pro-slavery convention had set up. 

At the beginning of the year the Leader observed: 

The Plain Dealer man who has been as whist as an old rat in the 
immediate neighborhood of a regular "black and tan" rat-terrier 
ever since the rupture between Douglas and the administration has 
at length put his nose near enough the mouth of his hole to give a 
faint squeak. . . J 

6 December 18. 

7 January 11, 1858. 


One such " squeak " came a little later when the Plain Dealer 
remarked that " of the 170,000 Democrats In Ohio who voted 
for James Buchanan, 160,000 at least are opposed to the Le~ 
compton constitution." 8 Remembering the anti-slavery senti- 
ment of this state, it is probable that this estimate was not in- 

An incident, capitalized to Gray's great embarrassment, was 
the publication in the Plain Dealer of a letter to the editor 
from Philadelphia, signed " Cleveland." The letter embodied a 
bitter attack on James Buchanan, then recently Secretary of 
State in the Polk Cabinet. " I hate this sham statesman," the 
correspondent wrote, " who like a colossal huckster sits on top 
of the Alleghenies offering to sell Pennsylvania to sell her 
future and her past to South Carolina or the Devil for a 
chance in the presidential raffle." 

The letter was printed in the Plain Dealer in the fall of 1851. 9 
No editorial attention was paid to it at the time. Certainly Gray 
did not repudiate its sentiments. Five years later, in the 1856 
campaign, when the Plain Dealer was supporting Buchanan for 
president, the Herald dug the old " Cleveland " letter from the 
files and day after day reprinted the critical section of it, with 
the caption: " The Plain Dealer on Buchanan in 1851." 

Gray protested the obvious unfairness of the attack. He said 
" Cleveland " was in reality George Lippard, a popular lecturer 
of Philadelphia who later came to Cleveland to edit and publish 
a temperance paper. Despite Gray's denials of responsibility, 
it cannot be doubted that the Herald's malicious use of the let- 
ter helped to build the anti-Buchanan majority in the Reserve. 
It certainly contributed to Buchanan's animosity toward the 

That Gray's loyalty to Douglas and to principle on the slav- 
ery question would cost him his office was by late 1857 becom- 
ing pretty apparent to the community. 

8 March 6, 1858. 

9 October 20. 


The Cleveland Herald quoted the New York Tribune corre- 
spondent at Washington as saying that " Plain Dealer Gray is 
to be removed from the Cleveland postoffice, unless he resigns, 
for refusing to denounce Douglas." 10 

The Leader, paying the postmaster one of the few compli- 
ments ever to come from that quarter, declared: 

We have no doubt that the president, in case he has not done 
so already, will require our postmaster-editor to oppose the Douglas 
movement on the Lecompton swindle, in consideration of his being 
retained in the Cleveland postoffice. This Mr. Gray, of course, will 
refuse to do. . . - 11 

Only the Cleveland Review retained any doubt as to the out- 
come of the controversy. The Review questioned whether Bu- 
chanan would care to oust Gray and thus increase the party 
feeling against him in Ohio. 12 

" The real difficulty " with Gray, declared the Leader, 

consists of the fact that President Buchanan has a tight rope with 
a running noose around his postmasterial gullet, and the moment he 
attempted to open his mouth upon the subject of the Lecompton 
swindle or the squatter sovereignty principle of his friend Douglas 
the former brought him up standing with a sharp pull of the rope, 
producing immediate silence and alarming distention of eyes and 
tongue, blackness in the face and all symptoms of incipient strangu- 
lation. 13 

While in these troublous days Gray showed no inclination to 
jeopardize his federal office unnecessarily, he did not propose 
to give anyone the false impression that he was trimming his 
sails to the winds of political expediency. Gray met the chal- 
lenge of his enemies with this editorial: 

10 January 16, 1858. 

11 January 18, 1858. 

12 January 25, 1858. 
18 January 25, 1858. 



Not only individuals, newspapers and letter writers, but the tele- 
graph, is busying itself about the Cleveland Post Office and the 
editor of this paper; as though no more interesting subject could 
be found in these days of * startling events." We are quite indif- 
ferent to any public use which can be made of our name, provided 
the truth shall be told of us. The Tribune's Washington correspond- 
ent is telegraphed by the N. Y. Associated Press as saying that 
* Gray, the Post Master at Cleveland is to be removed, notwithstand- 
ing his caving in on Lecompton." The readers of the Plain Dealer will 
know at once that the insinuation about " caving in J> is simply silly 
slander got up to injure the reputation of the editor where his paper 
does not circulate. We are a member of the Associated Press, pay 
regularly our weekly assessments and have as good a right to use 
that mammoth machinery to misstate the position of Horace Greeley 
as he or his correspondent has ours. It is bad enough to be thus 
slandered, without being compelled to pay for and print the slander 
upon ourselves. 14 

In June the expected happened. The " guillotine " set up by 
Buchanan " for the decapitation of the refractory of his own 
party " 15 using words previously employed by the Leader 
was a bit slow getting into operation, but its work was deadly. 
The Plain Dealer's own first announcement of Gray's dismissal 
came in this form: 


The long mooted question of the removal of Mr. Gray from the 
Cleveland Post office has at last taken place and Mr. Harrington has 
been appointed. The recent calamity of Mr. Gray which has resulted 
in the complete loss of his right eye has so overwhelmed him and his 
family in grief and so prostrated him physically that he is still un- 
able to read or write for his paper. The condition of his remaining 
eye is such as to require him to avoid as much as possible all mental 
excitement for the present and the public will have to wait his per- 
sonal vindication in this matter until his health shall be so restored 
as to allow him to resume his pen. 

The public, however, are already aware that Mr. Gray's removal 

" February 17, 1858. 
15 December 12, 1857. 


was occasioned by his having differed with the President on the 
Kansas question; in fact, for doubting the immaculate conception of 
the Lecompton Constitution! 16 (Signed) Editor pro tern. 

The Leader greeted the announcement with characteristic 
acidity: "A good administration of the Cleveland postoffice 
may soon be anticipated, a * consummation devoutly wished 
for ' by the people." 17 

The Herald declared the appointment had been given a " gen- 
tleman whose pecuniary responsibility is undoubted, whose 
integrity is unquestioned and whose aim will be to manage the 
office for the benefit of our citizens generally." 1S 

Gray's removal attracted wide attention, though it was only 
one of many of the fruits of Buchanan's " guillotine." The New 
Yorfc Tribune, whose editor had sued Gray for libel the year 
before, noted the incident in these words: 

Mr. J. W. Gray has been superseded as Postmaster at Cleveland, 
Ohio. He was to have had a new lease of the Post Office under Bu- 
chanan because of his zeal and activity in impeding the circulation 
and disparaging the influence of the Tribune; he has had the cup 
rudely dashed from his lips because he is a devoted personal and 
political friend of Douglas and could not swallow the Lecompton 
fraud. True, he said little against it; but his journal generally pre- 
served a silence which did not imply consent and when it spoke its 
utterances were not music in the ears of Calhoun, Henderson, the 
Kickapoo and Oxford managers and their illustrious patron in the 
White House. So Gray's head is in the basket. 

We are sorry for it. His successor will probably treat us better than 
Gray has done he could hardly treat us worse but we hate to see 
a man decapitated for speaking out his honest convictions. Gray 
might have done a dozen bad deeds without losing his office; but 
his manhood compelled him to do one good one and that proved 
fatal. Experience of freedom, we trust, will convince him that the 
loss of office is quite a subordinate calamity to the love of self- 
respect. 19 

16 June 15, 1858. 

17 June 15, 1858, 

18 June 14, 1858. 

19 Quoted in the Plain Dealer, June 26, 1858. 


It was a kind of half -measure tribute from an unexpected 
source, and the Plain Dealer acknowledged the favor. " The 
Horace Greeley of 1857 is not the Horace Greeley of "58," it 
remarked, " although his old drab coat and the shocking bad 
hat remain the same." 

Gray himself, physically weakened and unable to give his 
paper much personal attention, long refrained from comment 
on his dismissal. In the fall of 1859, however, fighting broken 
health and a newspaper competition set up to ruin him, Gray 
took his pen in hand: 

It is well known to the public that the editor of this paper was 
turned out of the postoffice at this place because he would not sur- 
render his principles and sacrifice his friends to the Moloch of Le- 
comptonism. By denouncing Senator Douglas and ignoring Popular 
Sovereignty as laid down in the Cincinnati platform he could have 
retained his office, as others have done who pursued a like course. 
But he chose what he deemed the path of duty and the path of honor; 
and because, as an independent journalist, he would not bow the 
knee to Baal but stood by the people in defence of their popular 
rights he is beset with persecution as well as proscription, and the 
paid recipients of federal patronage are let loose upon him. It was 
not enough to remove him from an office to which fifteen years of un- 
ceasing and unrequited service for the party in this wilderness of 
Republican Whiggery had entitled him, but a conspiracy was set 
afoot to rob him of what little earthly gains his industry and economy 
have accumulated. A paper falsely entitled " The National Demo- 
crat " was published by federal officials expressly to oppose ** Douglas 
and Popular Sovereignty" and by the use of federal patronage, 
through threats, bribes, menaces and misrepresentations break down 
this paper. There is no danger of any such result, and we only men- 
tion these facts to explain positions. . . . 20 

The National Democrat had made its appearance at the be- 
ginning of the year. It represented a form of " conspiracy " cal- 
culated to punish Gray by depriving him of business. 

The Plain Dealer accepted the challenge. On the day the 
new paper first appeared, Gray pointed out that the Demo- 
20 October 25, 1859. 


crat " professes to be * national, peace-loving and Democratic 
in its sentiments, and a help instead of a hurt to the cause of 
Democracy. As such we can cordially welcome it here, and can 
even go further and admire the boldness which in these days 
of death and famine among publishers generally induces to so 
daring and patriotic an experiment/' 21 

The fact was widely accepted that the National Democrat was 
established to support the Buchanan against the Douglas fac- 
tion of the Democratic Party. A correspondent of the New York 
Times wrote from Toledo that Benjamin Harrington was named 
to succeed Gray as postmaster " on the condition that he would, 
in conjunction with the marshal for this district, start and keep 
afloat a newspaper to oppose Douglas and the Plain Dealer." 22 

The National Democrat, said William W. Armstrong years 
later, was " started by Postmaster Ben Harrington and United 
States Marshal Mat Johnson to break the Plain Dealer, and 
lasted about three years." 23 Colonel Charles B. Flood, an ex- 
perienced newspaper man, was editor. After the collapse of the 
Democrat Flood became Columbus correspondent of the Plain 
Dealer. In 1881 he was to return to Cleveland to edit another 
paper 24 set up for the purpose of driving the Plain Dealer to the 

With the National Democrat supporting the Buchanan ad- 
ministration at every turn, the Plain Dealer its editor now out 
of public office, a sick, disappointed man nearing the end of his 
career stoutly clung to the cause of Douglas. Convinced that 
Douglas was " the choice of nine-tenths of the Democracy of 
the whole nation," 25 Gray hoisted his name to the top of the 
editorial page as its candidate for president in I860. 26 

21 January 3, 1859. 

22 Quoted by the Plain Dealer, January 4, 1860. 

23 Plain Dealer, July 31, 1887. 

24 The Daily Globe, started in September 1881; suspended after one 

25 November 15, 1858. 

26 October 24, 1859. 


Gray attended both the Charleston and the Baltimore con- 
ventions of the Democratic Party in that fateful vear. His loy- 

* * j 

alty to Douglas burned with the flame of a lifelong personal 
and political attachment. In a dispatch to his paper from Balti- 
more the day before the convention met, he referred to " those 
political pukes from the North who, with administration bribes 
in their pockets, come here to oppose the known will of their 
constituents/* 27 

The Plain Dealer, of course, supported Douglas for president 
with all its old-time vigor. It expressed confidence in his elec- 
tion, though one must now question whether the editor really 
believed that the badly divided Democratic Party could stand 
up against the militant Republicans. Buchanan gave whatever 
strength he could muster to Breckenridge, candidate of the 
pro-slavery wing of the party. 

With the election of Lincoln there began a new epoch in 
American political history. A new epoch was opening, too, in 
the career of the Plain Dealer. 

The Plain Dealer's last fling at Buchanan came only a few 
weeks before Gray's death. It referred to the late Democratic 
President as " that imbecile old lady, James Buchanan." 2S 

27 Dated at Baltimore, June 17, printed in the Plain Dealer June 20, 
1860. Buchanan's own interpretation of events leading to the great split 
in his party was contained in a letter to Mrs. J. J. Roosevelt, dated Febru- 
ary 14, 1863: " Had they [the Douglas Democrats] at Charleston simply 
consented to recognize the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred 
Scott case the Democratic party would not have been divided. This was 
all on which the southern delegates insisted. . . .** 

28 March 4, 1862. 



Gray, always on the look-out for talent, gathered on 

the staff many who gave the paper character 

and standing in the community and state. 

THOUGH his resources were limited and the Plain Dealer was a 
small enterprise, measured by the scale of the papers of his day 
with nation-wide circulation, J. W. Gray was always in the mar- 
ket for promising talent. His establishment became a sort of in- 
formal school of journalism for this part of the country. Gray 
liked young men and gave those he employed the largest possi- 
ble measure of freedom and responsibility. 

His associates thus formed a group famous in the community. 
Many of its members left their employment on the Plain Dealer 
for better-paying jobs on other newspapers; some entered other 
fields to win distinction. 

Artemus Ward was, of course, a conspicuous example of the 
kind of talent Gray was always looking for; the kind which has 
originality, cleverness, and the ability to go on its own. What- 
ever else be said of the Plain Dealer under Gray, it was inno- 
cent of stodginess. Gray put fire into what he wrote, and he 
encouraged fire in what his colleagues and assistants did. Fur- 
ther, he gave them a maximum of freedom to follow their own 
devices. Dullness was the sin unforgivable; brightness and spar- 
kle the goals to be sought. 


There was George Hoyt, for instance, a contemporary of Ar- 
temus Ward and the only man of major importance on the 
Plain Dealer whose term of service touched all three periods 
of its history. Employed first by Gray, he served under Arm- 
strong and remained for a short time after the Holden purchase. 

Hoyt came to the Plain Dealer from Chardon in 1857 as a 
compositor, the same year that Artemus Ward came from To- 
ledo to be Gray's " local " and commercial editor. Between the 
proprietor of the famous waxworks and the youth from Geauga 
there sprang up a comradeship which lasted as long as Artemus 
remained on the staff. 

Handy with his pencil a sort of amateur cartoonist, as he 
described himself Hoyt did not long remain at the type-cases. 
He entered the mailing-room and soon afterward the editorial 
rooms. He became Artemus Ward's assistant in the gathering 
of local news and illustrated some of his early writings with 
sketches as whimsical as the text. The campaign poster Gray 
issued in 1860 and circulated in many states was Hoyt's handi- 
work. It is related that Hoyt drew illustrations for Artemus 
Ward's first book, but the drawings were lost on their way to 
the publishers in New York and were never reproduced. 

Hoyt served at various times as local editor and associate 
editor, and when the Plain Dealer Publishing Company was 
chartered in 1877 he became its vice president. In the fall of 
1863 he was sent by Stephenson to report the dedication of the 
Gettysburg National Gemetery. With George A. Benedict of 
the Cleveland Herald, he stood but a few feet from Abraham 
Lincoln as the President delivered the now immortal Address. 
Said Benedict to Hoyt as the President finished: "George, he 
is the salt of the earth! " 

After the ceremonies Hoyt, with many others, visited Lin- 
coln and talked with him. Hoyt was not much impressed, as 
his report to the paper indicated. 

As an associate editor under Stephenson in 1863, Hoyt finally 
left the paper to join the army. He took an editorial position 


on the Cincinnati Times and returned to Cleveland in May 
1865 to become local editor of the Herald. 

When William W. Armstrong came into control of the Plain 
Dealer, however, he called Hoyt back and made him again as- 
sistant editor. He resigned as managing editor soon after the 
paper passed into the possession of Mr. Holden and his associ- 
ates. At his death in 1909, the Plain Dealer said of him: 

George Hoyt was an easy and graceful writer, a man of refined 
tastes and with a highly developed sense of humor and, while most 
of his journalistic work was prepared for the edification of a past 
generation, there are many Clevelanders who will recall his efforts 
to instruct and delight, and who will learn with regret that the hand 
and brain of the old journalist are forever stilled. 1 

Perhaps the only daily newspaper columnist ever to become 
a bishop was William Edward McLaren, who came to the Plain 
Dealer as a reporter in 1851 after graduation from Jefferson 
College, Pennsylvania. He served as literary editor, city editor, 
and editorial writer and started a column of comment and 
humor which he captioned " Spice." He was, accordingly, 
known by many as " Mac, the spice man." When the Forest 
City in 1852 claimed to have established the original local col- 
umn in Cleveland, the Plain Dealer challenged the statement 
and insisted McLaren had started the first. 

At the end of 1852 McLaren went to Pittsburgh and worked 
first on the Gazette and later on the Chronicle, leaving the news- 
paper field finally to study for the ministry. Ordained as a Pres- 
byterian minister in I860, he was sent to Bogotd, Colombia, but 
failing health brought him back to the United States two years 
later. He left the Presbyterian for the Episcopal Church, be- 
came rector of Trinity in Cleveland, and in 1875 was chosen 
bishop of the diocese of Chicago. He died in 1905. 

The Plain Dealer paid him this informal tribute: 

To report the proceedings of a religious or scientific convention 
all day, write a witty criticism of old Booth and Hackett all the 

1 January 25. 


evening and outstay the stars at a great conflagration the same night 
was better than food and raiment to Mac. He loved the business, 
and everybody loved him. . . . 2 

McLaren's successor and Arternus Ward's immediate pred- 
ecessor was James D. Cleveland, who left politics for a Plain 
Dealer job with Gray and then left the editorship to accept a 
political appointment three years later. Bom at Madison, New 
York, in 1822, he went to Cleveland the year the Plain Dealer 
made its appearance, studied law, and was elected clerk of the 
common pleas court. Defeated when he sought a second term, 
he accepted Gray's offer to succeed the future bishop as head 
of the local department. 

Answering a " louder call," as Gray expressed it, Cleveland 
left the paper at the end of 1857 to become deputy clerk of the 
federal court in the regime of Judge Hiram V. Willson. Ten 
years later he was elected judge of the police court, retiring 
voluntarily after one term to practice law and engage in a suc- 
cessful career on the lecture platform. He died in 1899. 

Gray regretfully bade his associate good-by: 

Boy and man, we have known Mr. Cleveland intimately for fifteen 
years. He has during that time as correspondent, contributor or edi- 
tor held confidential relations with the paper and is almost as much 
identified with it as the editor himself. 

When Artemus Ward left the Plain Dealer for the trail which 
was to lead shortly to the editorship of Vanity Fair in New York, 
his place was taken by Alphonse Minor Griswold, known widely 
as die " Fat Contributor." Like his predecessor, he was much 
more interested in conducting a sparkling column of wit and 
humor than in collecting the routine news of a city. 

Griswold was a graduate of Hamilton College and began 
his newspaper work on the Buffalo Express. In Cleveland he 
worked at various times for the Plain Dealer, the National Dem- 

2 April 10, 1869. 


ocraf established by Buchanan Democrats to ruin Gray by 
ruining his paper and the Leader. He worked at Detroit and 
Cincinnati, lectured, and at his death in 1891 was editor and 
chief owner of Texas Siftings. 

He was remembered for a long time in certain Cleveland cir- 
cles for writing an elaborate report of a supposed inter-church 
conference on chewing gum. It was a masterpiece of reporting, 
but the participants in the imaginary session did not enjoy it. 

Nicholas Bartlett used his experience with the editorial de- 
partment of the Plain Dealer to help him up the ladder in rail- 
roading. Born at Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1822, he went 
to Cleveland in 1828 and by 1845 had become, according to 
an editorial announcement, an " authorized agent " to collect 
money due the paper. He became assistant editor in 1847 and 
for a time in the succeeding year carried the title of editor, 
though Gray's control of the enterprise was unrelaxed, Gray 
called Bartlett a <c strong reasoner and a chaste and elegant 

He left the paper in 1850, engaged for a time in the manufac- 
ture of saleratus, and then became a clerk for the Cleveland, 
Painesville & Ashtabula Railroad, which was later absorbed into 
the Lake Shore system. In 1903 he celebrated the completion 
of fifty years with the old Lake Shore, his last position being 
that of local treasurer and assistant secretary. About one week 
after this observance Mr. Bartlett died. 

Benjamin Franklin Peixotto 3 served the Plain Dealer only a 
short time, but this brief career furnished material for columns 
of excited comment. He became associate editor, with James 
D. Cleveland, in January 1856, and for months his name was 
carried at the head of the column. Yet in 1877 the Plain Dealer 
declared that " Mr. Peixotto was never editorially connected 

8 His father was Dr. Daniel Maduro Peixotto, New York City physi- 
cian, called to the presidency of the Willoughby (Ohio) Medical College 
in 1836. Benjamin was born in New York on November 13> 1834. 


with the Plain Dealer, although he did a long time ago 
contribute occasional articles, editorial, local and correspond- 

This unmerited repudiation was inspired by the discussion 
at Washington of PeLxotto for an important consular appoint- 
ment. "He was a Democrat then, the red-hottest kind of a 
Democrat," the Plain Dealer said, " and it would puzzle the 
astutest to discover why he has since changed his creed." He 
filled various consular offices in the Grant and Hayes adminis- 
trations. When he was nominated for the post at Lyon in 1878, 
the Herald protested because he had opposed the re-election 
of Lincoln. The Plain Dealer protested because of his political 

In May 1856 the Leader criticized Gray because, it said, he 
blamed Peixotto for writing and printing political editorials 
without letting him see them. A poor excuse, the Leader in- 

On his joining the Plain Dealer, the daily Cleuelander * paid 
him the compliment of saying he was " a writer of talent and a 
gentleman whose career, editorial and personal, will be guided 
by courtesy and kindness." 

Though Peixotto's connection with the Plain Dealer was brief, 
the impression he made on the community as a leader and or- 
ganizer among Jewish people, starting in Cleveland and ex- 
tending throughout the United States, was a permanent con- 
tribution to the advancement of his co-religionists. He studied 
law, but found little time to practice it. He helped organize the 
first lodge of B'nai B'rith in Cleveland and at twenty-nine be- 
came national president of the organization. He was a moving 
spirit in the establishment of the B'nai B'rith Orphanage. 

As consul at Bucharest, whither he was sent by appointment 
of Grant to represent America's protest against the Jewish mas- 
sacres of 1870, the entire expense of his office was borne by 

4 The Clevelander made its appearance October 1, 1855. The last 
issue was of November 18, 1856. It supported Fillmore, American candi- 
date for president, in 1856. William J. May was editor. 


contributions from American Jews, the consul himself serving 
without pay. Peixotto died in 1890. 

" We cannot forbear," wrote Gray in 1856, " mentioning the 
material aid of H. M. Addison, Esq., 5 who fifteen years ago, with 
a cane, carpet bag and a clean collar traveled on foot through 
this Western Reserve in search of stray subscribers among a 
scattered Democracy and who paid for a night's lodging by 
playing his flute. . . ." 

Addison lived on for many years, blessed for his good works. 
He tried newspaper publishing in the 1850's, being owner and 
proprietor of the Cleveland Commercial, but the venture was 
a failure. He is best remembered now as founder of the Fresh 
Air Camp for underprivileged children and for other useful 
civic activities. 

Charles E. Kennedy wrote: " No Cleveland man I ever knew 
was thoroughly angelic, unless perhaps we make an exception 
of good old * Father Addison/ " 

Charles E. Wilson was business manager of the Plain Dealer 
toward the end of the Gray regime. He was a contemporary of 
Artemus Ward and his warm personal friend. Some of the hu- 
morist's best letters, written from New York in Vanity Fair 
days, were to Wilson, who, after leaving the paper, entered the 
insurance field at Hartford. 

Another business-office subordinate of Gray was James Bro- 
kenshire, who remained with the paper into the Armstrong 
days. When the Plain Dealer moved from the corner of Superior 
and Vineyard Streets in 1869, leaving the building it had occu- 
pied since 1850, Brokenshire bought the old structure, razed 
it, and sold the site to the Bratenahls. They erected a new 
building, which bore their name and stood for many years. 

5 Addison was born in Euclid, Ohio, November 21, 1818, and died 
January 14, 1898. 


Only once in Gray's twenty years* control of the Plain Dealer 
did he share its ownership, and then but for a short period. 
For two years from May 1853 the paper was owned, nominally 
at least, by the new firm of Gray, Beardsley, Spear & Co. The 
partners were Irad L. Beardsley, a former editor of the Herald 
and a future librarian of the Cleveland Public Library, George 
Spear, Thomas A. Stow, and G. W. Hepburn, all Plain Dealer 
employees in one department or another. The plan did not work 
to Gray's satisfaction and was dissolved in 1855. Later Gray was 
to recall the time when he was " afflicted with several partners/* 

Two men identified with the paper, for the most part during 
the period between the death of J. W. Gray and the purchase, 
of the property by William W. Armstrong, were George W. 
Johnson and William A. Collins. They served together as asso- 
ciate editors under Stephenson. Collins was active in Demo- 
cratic politics. Johnson had been trained as a teacher and had 
a real taste for literature. 

Collins left the Plain Dealer in the fall of 1864, intending to 
practice law in Cleveland. In the following March, however, 
he was announced as a co-purchaser of the Pittsburgh Chron- 

Johnson is perhaps best remembered as author of the once 
popular song " When You and I Were Young, Maggie." He was 
a graduate of the University of Toronto, had a doctorate from 
Johns Hopkins, taught Latin at Cornell and at University Col- 
lege, Toronto. The " Maggie " poem first appeared in his book 
of verses called Maple Leaves and was dedicated to his future 
wife, Maggie Clark. 

Soon after their marriage the Johnsons went to Cleveland 
and in 1864 he became associate editor of the Plain Dealer. In 
the following year, less than twelve months after their wedding, 
Mrs. Johnson died. At the beginning of 1866 Johnson left the 
paper to return to Canada. Later in the year he had the words 
of " Maggie " set to music by J. A. Butterfield of Detroit. Sur- 
viving his wife by more than half a century, Johnson died in 


1917, a lifelong student and teacher of the classics. 

Thomas A. Stow came to the Plain Dealer in 1851 as a com- 
positor, soon became foreman of the shop, and spent most of 
the rest of his life with the paper in one capacity or another. 
He married a niece of Irad L. Beardsley, who outlived him 
many years and died in 1929 on the day before her ninety-sixth 

Stow, like many of Gray's men, had a yen for politics. He was 
repeatedly a candidate for the legislature, but the majority 
habitually looked the other way. He was, however, a member 
of the Board of Education and a man guided by civic impulses. 
He was a second lieutenant in the Civil War. At his death in 
1877, the editor called him " an honest, faithful and efficient 
worker in the Plain Dealer." 

One did not have to be a member of the Plain Dealer staff, 
however, to enjoy Gray's confidence and the opportunity to 
make oneself felt as an influence in its publication. One sum- 
mer Gray went up the lakes and left George F. Marshall in 
charge of the editorial page. Marshall was a frequent writer for 
the paper, a councilman and active citizen. A series of letters 
he wrote to the paper from Europe attracted much favorable 

On this occasion, as usual when Gray packed a grip and got 
away for a time, other local Democrats kept a fatherly eye on 
the office. Reuben Wood, future Governor, and Henry B. Payne, 
future United States Senator, dropped in one day to see what 
was going on. Marshall showed them the proof of a blistering 
editorial he had written in answer to a Medina judge who 
had criticized the paper. They finally dissuaded Marshall from 
printing his searing words. 

Another non-journalistic friend on whom Gray often relied 
was John H. Sargent, school-teacher and engineer. He contrib- 
uted articles of travel and admonition, and belonged to the 


group of local Democrats who looked on the Plain Dealer as 
more or less their own possession, as it was their spokesman on 
matters political. 

Sargent has been given credit for efforts which perhaps kept 
Cleveland in the race for big citvhood. Bv 1843 Sanduskv had 

O >' * * 

taken the lead in Ohio in railroad-building, having already two 
lines in operation, one of them being for horse-drawn cars, run- 
ning to Tiffin. Sargent was appointed resident engineer on the 
project of reconstructing and extending this line. 

Seeing the benefits certain to accrue to Sanduskv from this 
enterprise and the advantages that city would gain over Cleve- 
land, Sargent, at the solicitation of J. W. Gray, sent a communi- 
cation to the Plain Dealer, illustrating it with maps, urging 
Cleveland to interest itself in a railroad to Columbus and Cin- 
cinnati. The suggestion bore fruit, and when the enterprise was 
finally approved, Sargent was called on to locate the line. He 
remained the road's engineer until it opened for business as 
far as Wellington. 

Richard C. Parsons, a future editor and part owner of the 
Herald, a future Congressman and federal office-holder in 
Cleveland under a Republican Party yet unborn, was still an- 
other man Gray called on frequently for service to the paper. 
At one time he wrote a series of sketches of prominent men 
about town. One concerning Judge Samuel Starkweather of- 
fended the jurist. He wrathfully demanded the name of the 
author. Editor Cleveland told him that his understanding was 
that each sketch was written by the man it portrayed! 

These men, of course, include only a few of those who helped 
J. W. Gray make the Plain Dealer a living, vibrant representa- 
tive of a community feeling its first impulses to future greatness. 
Gray was always on the look-out for new ideas and was ready 
to give the men who had them opportunity to launch their 
little craft on the stream of public discussion. 



Dying in June 1862, Gray is lost to his paper at a time when 

his services were most needed. Had he lived, the 

story of the next few years would have 

been quite different. 

IN the living-room of a modest dwelling on Superior Street the 
family was gathered after supper to spend the evening together. 
It was the kind of occasion the father particularly enjoyed, after 
a busy day at exacting duties. He was devoted to his wife and 
fond of the three children, Josephine, Eugene, and Louis. 

Eugene was especially lively. 1 He had recently acquired a 
toy pistol and was amusing the group by exploding percussion 
caps. The parents, watching, were partners in the pleasure 
which animated the boy. 

Suddenly the scene of domestic felicity was turned to trag- 
edy. A part of one of the percussion caps entered the father's 
right eye. Medical help was summoned. It was seen at once that 
the injury was serious. 

This was the tragic beginning of the end of the career of 
J. W. Gray, founder of the Plain Dealer and its editor from the 
start. The accident occurred on the evening of April 9, 1858. 
Gray died on May 26, 1862. 

1 Eugene was the older of the two sons. Later he was chosen by 
Walcott, the sculptor, as a model for the sailor lad whose figure is part 
of the Perry Monument, now in Gordon Park, Cleveland. 



Between these dates, more than four years apart, Gray was 
never able to give to his paper the undivided attention it im- 
peratively needed because of the critical character of the times. 
For months at a stretch he was completely incapacitated for 
active work. For many weeks at a time he could not even visit 
the office. 

The injury proved even more serious than was realized at first. 
The sight of the hurt eye was destroyed forthwith. The impair- 
ment spread gradually to the other eye, threatening total blind- 
ness. This was followed at last by a form of paralysis which 
affected the brain. 

Returning to his desk near the end of 1861, hoping at the 
moment that he would be able thenceforth to carry the burden 
of conducting the enterprise he had built up in the community, 
Gray wrote: 


For the first time in twenty years the proprietor of the Plain 
Dealer has found it necessary to excuse himself from the duties of 
an editor in consequence of ill health. Since April last we have spent 
most of our time in Put-in-Bay island, Lake Erie, engaged in the 
recruiting service. We are at home now, with our general health 
very much improved and prepared to renew daily communications 
with our readers. Although for six months we have stopped reading 
and writing we have not during that time altogether stopped think- 
ing. . . . This is the poor man's war and is to establish that great 
principle of human rights, "popular sovereignty." God speed the 
cause and all the good men engaged in it. 2 

The hope proved delusive, however, as had other hopes in 
the same direction. His naturally strong physique had been so 
deeply undermined as a result of the accident which cost him 
an eye that Gray found he was quite incapable of carrying on 
as before. 

By late January it became evident that the militant editor and 
crusader for Democracy in a region hostile to its doctrines 

2 Decembers. 


would not be able longer to bear the brunt of an increasingly 
bitter and merciless warfare. In accordance with this reluctant 
decision on Gray's part, the following announcement appeared: 


Owing to the continued ill health of the proprietor of this paper, 
from an affliction which prevents his reading or writing, he is in- 
duced to offer for sale the entire establishment of the " Cleveland 
Plain Dealer," consisting of type, cases, stands, imposing stones, 
presses, boiler and engine, circulation, reputation and good will. 
The Plain Dealer was established by its present proprietor in 1840 
[sic] and has remained under his sole control ever since. 3 

The Leader, of course, lost no time attempting to make capi- 
tal of Gray's offer to sell: " Don't it sound very funny to hear 
Gray talk of selling his good will and reputation, etc? All the 
reputation he has is that of being very doubtful! " * 

In this same editorial the Leader insisted that Gray really 
wished to sell the Plain Dealer because his attitude toward the 
war had alienated the paper's support and made the property 
a liability rather than an asset. 

Whatever motives may have inspired the offer, no sale was 
effected. Its disposal was left to those who would inherit the 

Four factors contributed to break the spirit of J. W. Gray 
after the accident had weakened his physical stamina. The first 
was his loss of the postoffice. The second was his defeat as a 
candidate for Congress. The third was the establishment of the 
National Democrat. The fourth was the death of Stephen A. 
Douglas in June 1861. 

In reality, Gray left the postmastership with no little credit 
to himself, since the community realized the fact that he had 
lost the place because he put principle above political expedi- 
ency. By swinging his paper to the support of Buchanan, aban- 

3 January 23. 

4 January 29, 1862. 


doning policies he had fought for through many years, there is 
not the slightest doubt that he could have remained postmaster 
of Cleveland until displaced by some Lincoln appointee. 

His defeat for Congress followed closely on his dismissal from 
the federal post. It seems scarcely possible that Gray could 
have hoped to win in this abolitionist district. In fact, he gave 
no evidence of serious disappointment when the returns showed 
Edward Wade elected. 

The " junior " editor, commenting on his chiefs nomination, 
had declared: " We heard him [Gray] say on hearing the result 
of the convention that losing an eye and an official head were 
calamity enough for one year, without running a tilt for Con- 
gress against a 4,000 fusion majority." The subordinate was sure 
that "if all his personal friends and the popular sovereignty 
believers in the district should vote for him, he certainly would 
be elected." 5 

Gray ran the " tilt." His nomination had been called an anti- 
Buchanan victory. The convention had, indeed, tabled a reso- 
lution endorsing the national administration. His defeat, doubt- 
less, was due in part to anti-Douglas Democrats resentful of 
Gray's attitude toward the President. 

As far back as 1846 the New York Tribune had suggested 
Gray for Congress, doubtless intending it jocosely. Gray, quot- 
ing the suggestion, then said: "We have no desire to go to 
Congress until the * hard-fisters ' are strong enough in this dis- 
trict to vote down all the Greeley, Abby Kelly, Giddings and 
Garrison Whigs and send us there by a straight-haired vote." 6 

By 1858, however, the editor had apparently changed his 
mind. Even his defeat by Wade did not destroy his wish to serve 
at Washington. For instance: 

We want to go to congress. Have no desire for the postoffice. Had 
enough of it. Too much. It liked to have cost us our manhood and 

5 September 20, 1858. 

6 July 3, 1846. 


independence, and did for a time threaten to corrode the sweetness 
of our temper. But a season of fasting and prayer has restored us to 
grace and good nature and we are going in for the redemption of the 


The Congress to which Wade had been elected was the 31st, 
long famous for the difficulty the House had in choosing a 
speaker. Sixty-three ballots were required, and organization of 
the House was delayed till two days before Christmas. Disap- 
pointed and ill as he was, Gray was still ready to kid himself 
about the election: 

Mortified beyond endurance and mad beyond cure are we at the 
stupidity of the voters of the nineteenth district in sending Ed Wade 
to Congress instead of our modest but mortified self. If we were in 
Congress, think you the House would not have organized ere this? 
. . . Will the voters of this district bear us in mind at the next 
congressional election? 8 

The National Democrat* established by Buchanan followers 
and controlled by Buchanan appointees in Cleveland, made its 
appearance at the beginning of 1859. It was to be shortlived, 
but in its early months was strong enough to cause Gray a good 
deal of uneasiness. Whatever newspaper favors emanated from 
Washington were given the new paper. It carried on a continu- 
ous warfare against Gray and the Plain Dealer. To a man in fail- 
ing health this threatening competition was a worry, aggravat- 
ing other circumstances contributing to his discomfiture. 

Senator Douglas died on June 3, 1861. Between him and Gray 
had existed a lifelong personal and political friendship. The 
Plain Dealer was outstanding among Democratic papers of the 
country in support of the policies which found their chief 
spokesman in the statesman from Illinois. It had supported his 
measures of compromise designed to save the country from a 

7 January 5, 1859. 

8 December 12, 1859. 

9 The first issue appeared on January 3, 1859. On February 12, 1861 
the Leader announced its demise. 


civil war. It had ardently supported him for president. And now 
in the face of actual secession and the beginning of the Civil 
War, it still hoped that the moderate counsels of Douglas might 
avert the last measure of disaster. 

To a man like Gray, buffeted by misfortune, physically ill 
and distraught in spirit, the death of the Senator came as a blow 
more serious than may now seem justified. A drifting ship had 
lost its anchor. A captain in a losing cause had witnessed the 
fall of his beloved leader. 

Though Gray could give personal attention to the paper only 
intermittently during the trying weeks which saw the begin- 
ning of the war, it cannot be doubted that its general policy 
was still dictated by him. As the darker days approached, the 
Plain Dealer proved a better prophet than the Leader. 

The Leader had been certain that the election of Lincoln 
would not mean disaster. " The day after Lincoln is elected this 
treasonable clamor will stop and the country will resume its 
usual peace and prosperity." 10 

On the other hand, the Plain Dealer insisted that " disunion 
is inevitable in the event of Lincoln's election/' u 

Gray did everything possible, of course, to prevent the elec- 
tion of Lincoln. With the Republican triumphant, however, 
and the clouds of war gathering, Gray threw the full support 
of the Plain Dealer to the side of the incoming administration 
and the purpose of maintaining the Union. 

A month and a half before Lincoln was inaugurated the Plain 
Dealer declared: 



It is time for northern Democrats there [in Congress] to speak out 
plainly. Let them tell the south their constituents will not submit to 
the disruption of the Union. Let them make the south understand 
that the northern people, without regard to party, stand upon the 

10 November 1, 1860. 

11 Quoted by the Leader, November 6, 1860. 


Jackson ground, and are and will ever be immovable upon it. There 
is a sentiment in the north. It over-rides every other with a great 
and now indignant people. 12 

Three months later: 

All chances of fraternal compromises are now indefinitely post- 
poned, and we must stand by the government, without flinching, in 
its endeavors to protect our institutions from hopeless dissolution. 
. . . Secession is rebellion and now that it has become aggression, 
consolidated and organized aggression, it must be met by force. 13 

** War or peace with us has no other basis than Union/' Gray 
declared, " and the punishment of traitors and traitors only/' 14r 

This was J. W. Gray at his best. Proud to be known as a Demo- 
crat, lie was prouder still to be an American and a Union man. 
Proud to have supported Douglas against Lincoln for president, 
now that Douglas was dead and Lincoln in the White House, 
he was even prouder to lend whatever support he could to the 
head of his afflicted nation. 

In his happier days Gray had acquired property and a home 
on Put-in-Bay Island. Here among his grapes and orchards he 
now spent many weeks at a time, coming to the city and the 
office only at rare intervals. 

Referring to the fighting in the South and the delusive indi- 
cations of an early peace, Gray said in May 1862: "The end 
seems drawing rapidly nigh, and we are justified in anticipating 
a speedy termination of the war." 15 The end was indeed " draw- 
ing rapidly nigh/' but not the end of the war. In thirteen days 
Gray was dead. For him, then, the war had ended. 

Increasingly feeble for months, Gray finally succumbed to 
paralysis. He had visited the office and talked with his colleagues 
on Saturday. Stricken Sunday night, he died the next afternoon. 
He was not yet forty-nine years of age. 

12 January 20, 1861. 

13 April 23, 1861. 

14 August 15, 1861. 

15 May 13. 


At a time when, as perhaps never before, the Plain Dealer 
needed the wise guidance of its founder, needed his patriotic 
devotion to the Union, his ripened judgment, his powers of un- 
derstanding, and his knowledge of the pitfalls which lay ahead 
of any newspaper which might be unwilling to throw every- 
thing it had into the cause of human liberty at this critical 
moment the little percussion cap bore its tragic fruit. 

The other Cleveland papers, after fighting Gray with relent- 
less hostility when alive, paid him tribute now. His bitterest foe, 
the Leader, was " pained to learn of his death," continuing: 

Mr. Gray had an active, vigorous temperament which made him a 
stirring business man and enabled him to accumulate a handsome 
competence. He was a man of strong feelings and was either a fast 
friend or an equally decided enemy. His acquaintance extended 
throughout the country and his sudden death will be widely noted, 
As a journalist he was positive and pungent and in the palmiest days 
of the Plain Dealer his editorials were widely quoted by friends and 
foes. 10 

Years before, Gray had discussed his financial situation and 
laid down a policy which he followed religiously to the end: 

We claim to be no miser in any sense considered we have kept 
nothing in reserve. Not an hour, not a thought, not a dollar in money 
which we believed would enure to the happiness or interests of our 
readers have we not contributed, content thus far by the aid of 
health, hard labor and the favor of the people to gain an honest 
livelihood. 17 

For twenty years, through a period troublous in the nation 
and doubly troublous in the Western Reserve, J. W. Gray had 
been the dominant figure of the Plain Dealer and an influential 
figure in the Democracy of Cuyahoga County. His name as 
editor and publisher ran at the masthead unbrokenly except for 
one brief period of a year or two, starting in 1853, when the 

16 May 27, 1862. 
June 13, 1849. 


firm of Gray, Beardsley, Spear & Co. was announced as owner. 18 
Even then Gray remained editor, and would shortly resume 
complete control. An experiment which seemed to promise well 
was found disappointing. 

Except for this interlude, Gray was the Plain Dealer from 
January 1842 until he died in May 1862. The period covered im- 
portant years in the development of Cleveland. A forceful, en- 
gaging figure in the community passed when Joseph William 
Gray was laid in his grave in the Erie Street Cemetery. 19 

18 May 17, 1853. 

19 The body was moved to Highland Cemetery in 1907. The body of 
A. N. Gray was moved from the one cemetery to the other at the same 



John S. Stephenson, administrator of the Gray estate., be- 
comes editor and publisher. Insisting that the war was 
a failure and Lincoln unfit., he antagonizes the 
community. Publication suspended. 

" IT was the wish of my dear Husband/* wrote Mrs. J. W. Gray 
to Probate Judge D. R. Tilden of Cuyahoga County, " that John 
S. Stephenson should aid me in selling his estate. It is my wish 
also. Let him be the administrator." 

The decision was unfortunate. Mrs. Gray lived to regret her 
part in making it effective. 

For the major asset of the Gray estate was the Plain Dealer. 
Had Stephenson been wise enough to leave the editorial direc- 
tion of the paper to some man better fitted than himself, all 
might have been well. Instead he assumed personal manage- 
ment, editorial as well as business, and the result was disaster. 1 

Stephenson undertook a task for which he had neither apti- 
tude nor training. He had in 1853 married Helen Celeste Gray, 
a daughter of A. N. Gray, and was therefore a nephew by mar- 
riage of the late publisher. He had studied law, but never prac- 

1 N. A. Gray would have seemed a more logical choice for editor to 
act until the estate was settled and the paper sold. He had been connected 
with the Plain Dealer in one capacity or another practically ever since it 
was established. There is plenty to show that he enjoyed the complete 
confidence of his younger brother, the founder. 



ticed it, been a deputy sheriff, and worked for a time in the 
business office of the Plain Dealer under his uncle. During the 
Gray administration of the postoffice Stephenson was local mail 
agent by appointment of Buchanan and was among the federal 
employees in Cleveland to be sacrificed to the President's dis- 
pleasure with Gray. He was removed from office three months 
after Gray's own dismissal. 2 

At the time of his own removal Stephenson was chairman of 
the Cuyahoga County Democratic central committee. The or- 
ganization had followed Gray out of the Buchanan camp to 
join the supporters of Douglas. " Old Buck," as the Douglas men 
called him, was through in his measures of retribution. 

The difficulties which beset Stephenson, as spokesman and 
agent of the estate, are of course not to be minimized. The Plain 
Dealer had been an organ of the Democratic Party from the 
beginning. It had ridiculed the idea of nominating Abraham 
Lincoln for president, and opposed his election. Thoroughly 
committed to the idea of saving the Union, it was still antago- 
nistic to that of abolishing slavery by edict. 

Thus the new publisher found himself between two fires in 
the home field. The Western Reserve was militantly anti-slavery 
and predominantly abolitionist. It had voted heavily for Lin- 
coln and was now contributing loyally to the support of the 
Union forces in the field. On the other hand there were here 
the lusty remnants of a fighting Democracy unwilling to see 
itself destroyed even in the name of patriotism. 

Had J. W. Gray lived through the war, there is every good 
reason to believe that he would have continued to meet this 
dilemma in a manner creditable to himself, to his paper, and to 
the community. He would not have surrendered, as Stephenson 
was shortly to do, to the radical elements of the Democratic 
Party. The paper would not have supported Vallandigham for 
governor; might not have acquired the title of being a " copper- 
head " publication; would not in all probability have been com- 

2 Leader, September 22, 1858. 


pelled at the end of the war to stop its presses and close its 

Under Gray the Plain Dealer had supported David Tod, 
Union candidate for governor in 1861, against the Democrat 
Hugh J. Jewett. It had, indeed, welcomed the prospect of Tod's 
nomination, saying: " Let us for once go out of party harness, 
giving the * frets * and * galls * an opportunity to heal, while we 
give to our glorious but endangered country our every thought 
and energy." 3 

In harmony with this thought Gray had this to say of Vallan- 
digham: " There is no doubt but his sympathies as well as his 
associations are with treason, and how much forbearance is due 
him by the government is not for us to say." 4 

Gray had met the President-elect on the only visit he ever 
made to Cleveland. After their interview at the Weddell House, 
Gray wrote that " we must confess to being most favorably im- 
pressed. If mistakes do occur in the executive government of 
this country, we are satisfied they will not be chargeable to 
design." 5 

Following Lincoln's first call for volunteers, Gray declared: 

If the Constitution is to be the guide and President Lincoln wants 
citizen soldiers to put down rebellion against federal laws, reunite 
the confederacy and make the flag of our Union respected every- 
where, then we, as a Union man, are ready to enlist, forgetting all 
past differences of political opinion and fighting alone for our coun- 
try, its liberty and laws. 6 

One could scarcely ask for a more cordial and generous state- 
ment from a Douglas Democrat. Having opposed the election 
of Lincoln, he was now ready to give him full support for put- 
ting down rebellion. It was Douglas's own attitude, maintained 
till the hour of his death. 

Stephenson, assuming control of the Plain Dealer as adminis- 
trator of the Gray estate a few days after the proprietor's death, 

3 June 3, 1861. 6 February 16, 1861. 

* September 18, 1861. 6 April 15, 1861. 


seemed at first personally inclined to follow the same course. 
This was evidenced by frequent editorials urging support for 
the administration and the war. 

It pursued " but one straight-forward course," the Plain 
Dealer declared, and * this has been for the time being to lay 
aside all political party contentions and give to the support 
of the Republican administration our honest, unswerving sup- 
port." 7 

In July the paper took some of its contemporaries to task: 

If the press could only forget side issues, personal interests, fault- 
finding with generals and commenting on what cannot now be re- 
called and show as much interest for the government as for some 
minor matters, there can be an influence concentrated and exerted 
which would be felt in every branch of the service. 8 

This was fairly typical of the course Stephenson pursued dur- 
ing the first few months after Gray's death. By fall, however, a 
gradually changing attitude toward the administration and the 
war was discernible. Affairs were going badly at the front. The 
two battles of Bull Run had been lost with terrific sacrifices. 
Federal defeats on the Peninsula and the general lack of initia- 
tive at Washington contributed to a critical attitude in the 
North. The act of the President in relieving General George B. 
McClellan from his command met widespread Democratic 

Even yet, however, Stephenson was not ready to cut loose 
from the pro-administration policy which had been set by his 
wife's uncle. In the state campaign of 1862 the Plain Dealer 
gave mild support to the Union (Republican) ticket. " The ac- 
tion of the Union state convention," it declared, " was eminently 
wise, patriotic and discreet. The nominations will be acceptable 
to that great body of patriotic and loyal men composing the 
Union organization.' 5 9 

7 June 14, 1862. 

8 July 24, 1862. 

9 August 23, 1862. 


But the elections went strongly Democratic. ** It is the Devil's 
doings/* 10 moaned the Leader. Democrats were elected to state 
offices in Ohio, including William W, Armstrong, a future pub- 
lisher of the Plain Dealer, who was chosen secretary of state. 
The Buckeye delegation in the lower branch of Congress was 
given a nearly three-to-one Democratic majority. 

John S. Stephenson now started to backslide. Cleveland Dem- 
ocrats were dissatisfied. They began saying that if the Plain 
Dealer was unwilling longer to speak for the anti-war party, 
they would take steps to establish a paper which would do so. 
Though the Plain Dealer continued to run Gray's name at the 
masthead as editor, it was breaking away from the safe mooring 
he had fixed for it. 

Two weeks after the election the Leader commented on the 
seeming change of attitude on the part of the Plain Dealer, 
making appropriate comments under the delicate caption: ** The 
Dog Returns to his Vomit." xl 

A week later the Leader quotes a Columbus dispatch to the 
Cincinnati Gazette to the effect that the Cleveland Plain Dealer 
"has passed into the hands of a butternut 12 editor, which 
accounts for its late summerset." 1S 

If there had been a change of editors, there is nothing in the 
record to indicate it, beyond the obvious alteration of policy. 
The Leader thought no change of personnel was involved. 

The Leader, further, quoted from the Capital City Post: 

Previous to the October election, the Cleveland Plain Dealer was 
not regarded as exactly " sound on the (Democratic) goose " and a 
committee of Simon Pures was appointed to make arrangements 

10 October 17. 

11 October 21, 1862. 

12 "Butternut" was a term popularly synonymous with "copper- 
head/* intended to indicate a Northern sympathizer with the Southern 
cause. Frontier farmers were supposed to wear clothes dyed with butter- 
nut bark. The first Confederate prisoners taken in the war were said to 
wear such clothes. 

18 Leader, October 29, 1862. 


for the establishment of a true and loyal Democratic paper. But since 
the election the Plain Dealer has come out strongly Democratic and 
is now regarded as " true blue." 14 

On its own account, the Leader turned its attention to its 
old competitor, now laboring in rough seas: 


Ever since the project of a new Democratic organ in this city was 
proposed in the Democratic county convention some months ago 
the Plain Dealer has trimmed its sails for that market. It had pro- 
fessedly been Union before the election, but thereupon turned 
about and has ever since overflowed with the most unblushing " but- 
ternut " doctrines. But this crooking of * the pregnant hinges of the 
knee " has disgusted the steadfast butternuts as well as the Union 
men, and they do not propose negotiating with a weathercock. It is 
now intended to start the new paper near the beginning of the new 
year and to put abundant capital in it. As it will have an advantage 
over the Plain Dealer in this respect, the latter will probably die. 
Certainly, two tory secession sheets cannot live in this locality, 15 

In answer to the above, and to a similar editorial in the Her- 
ald, Arthur Hughes, who had in the county convention moved 
the resolution looking to the starting of a new Democratic 
paper, wrote to the Plain Dealer explaining that, although a 
committee had been named, no action was taken. Further, he 
declared that Democrats were now satisfied with the Plain 
Dealers " fearless and manly course in advocating and sustain- 
ing Democratic principles/* 16 

So this particular threat of competition appears to have 
passed, though the possibility of a rival was never absent. 17 

14 Leader, November 3, 1862. 

15 December 29, 1862. 

16 December 30, 1862. 

17 In November the Leader had noted the ** natural death ** of the 
Cleveland Evening Dispatch " after a sickly existence of three or four 
months." It was a Democratic paper, but it appears to have had nothing to 
do with the local party wish to set up a competition with the Plain Dealer 
on the war issue. 


The change of attitude on the part of the Plain Dealer, which 
its critics decried and the Democratic politicians acclaimed, 
was given special emphasis in an editorial at the beginning of 
November. It announced a " revival of political discussion*** 
charged Lincoln with unfaithfulness to his pledges, condemned 
the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and continued: 

Under new editorial control the Plain Dealer will hereafter be 
found, " its old political armor buckled on, w steadily battling for 
those great principles of Popular Sovereignty and Democratic Polity 
which, as the people have shown in the recent October elections and 
which we never ceased to believe can alone save the Union, pre- 
serve the Constitution and restore the country to an honorable and 
lasting peace. 18 

The step once taken, Stephenson lost no time in realigning 
the paper with the radical Democracy. Eight days later it de- 
manded a change in the Cabinet. " Miserable inefficiency and 
imbecility seem to weigh with leaden influence upon our coun- 
sels." 19 

The Democratic Party, it insisted again, " stands by the Con- 
stitution and has always stood by it, while the Republicans are 
today urging measures which no man of them pretends is sanc- 
tioned by that instrument/* 20 

This struck a note of criticism which would become increas- 
ingly familiar as the war progressed. The Plain Dealer, like the 
group for which it spoke, could not see that extraordinary, extra- 
constitutional methods were necessary in order to crush a rebel- 
lion which it professed itself as much in earnest as anyone else 
to see ended by re-establishment of the Union. 

18 November 3, 1862. Lest it be assumed that the Plain Dealer was 
alone or in a small group of newspapers fighting the Lincoln administra- 
tion, it should be said that many other Democratic papers in the 
North were taking the same course. For instance, the New York World, 
the Chicago Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Dayton Empire. 
The World and the Journal of Commerce were temporarily suppressed 
by the War Department. 

19 November 11, 1862. 

20 November 12, 1862, 


So the war entered its third year. Before the new calendar 
was obsolete Gettysburg would be fought and the backbone 
of the Confederacy broken, Clement L. Vallandigham, arch- 
enemy of Lincoln, would run for governor of Ohio with Plain 
Dealer support, and the paper would find itself still further out 
of line with the prevailing sentiment of its community. 

At the beginning of the year Stephenson said: 

We have expressed our opinion of the President so many times that 
it will be useless to repeat it Lincoln, by the constitution com- 
mander-in-chief of the armies of the United States, has exercised his 
war power, not as president but as a general. He justifies the act as 
a military necessity. Having failed to end the war and restore the 
Union by means of the magnificent armies generously confided to 
his generalship and guardianship, having in fact suffered them to be 
decimated and their energy paralyzed by political generals who 
seem to command the military generals in the field, he has magnani- 
mously resolved to risk what reputation he has left upon the issuing 
of a Proclamation of Emancipation, and thus terminate the rebellion 
and the war with one bold dash of the pen. Results will show the 
wisdom or folly of the measure. 21 

One of Stephenson's heroes at the moment was Horatio Sey- 
mour, who had been elected Governor of New York in 1862. 
His attitude toward the war was, to say the least, one of enthusi- 
asm under perfect control. His handling of the anti-draft riots 
in July 1863 was subject to general criticism in the North. But 
the Plain Dealer did not change the opinion it had expressed six 
months earlier: 

The only hope which we have of the future of the government to 
maintain its existence and restore the Union of these states is in the 
statesmen of which Horatio Seymour is the type. . . , 22 

Extravagant, however, was the Plain Dealer's praise of Get- 
tysburg and the army which achieved it: 

al January 3, 1863. 
22 January 13, 1863. 


He took control of the paper as administrator of the Gray estate. His management was mfor- 



Grand, heroic army! All its accumulated disasters; all its wounds 
and sufferings are atoned for in a blaze of victory, wrought out in 
the bloodiest and stubbornest contest of the whole war. The sneers 
of the Richmond papers are answered; the vaunts of the rebel offi- 
cers are answered; the scoffs of our own unjust press and people are 
answered. The army stands today the noblest gathering of brave and 
constant men who ever marched forth to battle, undaunted and un- 
dismayed, whether conquering or repulsed. Honor! Eternal honor 
to it! 23 

To this army and to the other armies of the North the Plain 
Dealer establishment had contributed generously of its man- 
power. A distinguished soldier from the composing-room was 
James B. Hampson, the first commissioned officer inside the 
Confederate entrenchments at Corinth, who was killed as a 
major near Dallas, Georgia. As a drill-master for the Cleveland 
Grays, a " brilliant and successful military career " had been 
prophesied for him by Colonel McCook. 

William Haines became colonel of the 100th Ohio Regiment. 
In a single group, photographed by W. C. North in 1864, were 
the following Plain Dealer men: Thomas A. Stow, second 
lieutenant Company E; George Whitehead, second lieutenant 
Company D; P. H. Carroll, first sergeant Company E; Thomas 
Whitehead, third sergeant Company E; William J. Gleason, 
Company E; and David S. Whitehead, Company A. These were 
the " Plain Dealer Ironclads/' by the designation given them by 
the office. 

As early as the fall of 1863 the paper declared that it had al- 
ready sent into the war one colonel, one major, one captain, one 
lieutenant, several sergeants, and numerous privates. 24 

These contributions, however, did not alter Stephenson's de- 
termination to press his resistance to the Lincoln administra- 
tion and to challenge its conduct of the war. This became in- 
creasingly evident as the state campaign of 1863 approached. 
In 1861 the Plain Dealer, after some apparent hesitation, had 

23 July 6, 1863. 

2 * October 20, 1863. 


thrown its support to the Democrat David Tod, running as the 
Union candidate for governor. 

In 1863 the Democrats nominated the exiled Clement L. Val- 
landigham and the Union candidate was John Brough. The 
Plain Dealer hesitated again, but after a few weeks swung into 
line for the Democratic nominee. Appropriate was the com- 
ment of the Leader, that " the same Plain Dealer which in 1861 
ranked Vallandigham with the traitors now ranks him with the 
honored of the land and supports him as worthy of confidence 
and official position. . . ." 25 

Vallandigham was not the Plain Dealer's first choice for the 
Democratic nomination, as he certainly was not of the rank and 
file of the party over the state. He was the idol of the radicals. 
He had served two terms in Congress and was defeated for a 
second re-election even in the face of the Democratic sweep of 
1862. He is remembered today as the bitterest opponent the 
Union government had in the North. He was finally arrested and 
banished to the Confederate lines. Escaping to Canada, he con- 
tinued his attitude of disloyalty and from his safe haven at 
Windsor maintained his ascendancy over the Democracy of 

For two days before the meeting of the state convention in 
June the Plain Dealer urged the nomination of General George 
B. McClellan of Cincinnati for governor. Friends of Vallandig- 
ham, however, controlled the convention. The exile was pic- 
tured as a " martyr " and, so far as the delegates were concerned, 
the appeal proved irresistible. 26 

Even after the nomination StepHenson was for a time unwill- 
ing to break with the Gray precedent far enough to support for 
governor the man whom Gray had denounced two years before 

25 August25, 1863. 

26 Vallandigham being in exile, the campaign for the Democratic 
ticket was led by George E. Pugh of Cincinnati, candidate for lieutenant 
governor- He had represented Ohio in the United States Senate for the 
term ending two years before. 


as sympathetic with treason. Vallandigham was nominated on 
June 11. The Plain Dealer declared its support of him on the 
last day of July. 

Answering a Herald statement that this delay in coming out 
for Vallandigham was designed to force a sale of the paper, 
Stephenson replied that the Plain Dealer "has neither been 
offered for sale, nor have any offers of purchase been made to it. 
The paper is absolutely independent financially, and was never 
in so flourishing a condition as it is today. There is no earthly 
use for selling it, nor have the proprietors the most shadowy 
thought of doing so." 2T 

Once in the Vallandigham camp, however, Stephenson put 
everything the paper had into the campaign for his election. 
On a single day he printed three columns of extracts from Val- 
landigham speeches touching the war, and found them " re- 
plete with patriotism." 2S His characterization of the convention 
which had nominated Brought against Vallandigham was that it 
was an " abolition disunion convention." 29 

It is not probable that the Plain Dealer had any serious re- 
grets over Vallandigham's defeat for governor by the biggest 
majority ever recorded in the state to that time. 

" This paper/ 9 it declared, " has faithfully, zealously and hon- 
estly stood by the government during the progress of this 
war." 30 Western Reserve Union men must have smiled at this 
assertion, so soon after the election. 

Again: " The Plain Dealer since the war began has been a vig- 
orous war sheet." 81 

This was part of what the Leader had earlier called its 
evening contemporary's " contemptible shuffling." The Plain 
Dealer, it insisted, had " lost all manhood and respect in its blind 
advocacy of the traitorous doctrines of the Canada traitor and 

2 7 September 5, 1863. so December 10, 1863. 

28 September 8, 1863. 81 December 17, 1863. 

29 June 17, 1863. 


now seeks to convince the people that it has some loyalty 
left" 32 

The Plain Dealer greeted the fourth year of the war with 
these words: 

The year that has just begun may be regarded in many respects 
as the most important one which has yet dawned upon national 
existence. ... It remains to be determined during the year 1864 
whether the people have finally given in to the idea of the federal 
constitution and whether it is to be regarded hereafter as a mere 
supplementary agency of government convenient in holiday times 
but mere waste paper in seasons of peril. The presidential election 
will settle this matter. 33 

The Plain Dealer, with other Northern Democratic papers, 
had begun before the end of the previous year to advocate the 
nomination of McClellan to oppose Lincoln's re-election. Quot- 
ing the general, it declared that " this war must go on till armed 
rebellion is subdued." 3 * 

Emphasizing its hostility to the doctrine of abolition and to 
the idea that the war must bring about an end of slavery, the 
paper insisted that "had the Crittenden Compromise been 
adopted by Congress and submitted to the country, the nation 
would have been spared this long, devastating war." S5 

Into the campaign for the election of McClellan the Plain 
Dealer, directed by Stephenson, put everything it had. Even 
the President at times was very doubtful of his own success 
at the polls that fall. Oddly, as it seems now, he questioned 
whether the convention would nominate him and whether, if 
nominated, he could win the popular verdict. 

32 October 22, 1863. 

33 January 2, 1864. 

34 December 17, 1863. 

35 August 18, 1864. The Crittenden Compromise was embodied in a 
constitutional amendment proposed by Senator John J. Crittenden of 
Kentucky. It would have divided the Union into free-state and slave-state 
portions, the dividing line being the 36-30 parallel. It met with no favor 
in Congress. 


The anti-Lincoln Republican convention in Cleveland at the 
end of May, and its nomination of John C. Fremont for presi- 
dent, gave the Plain Dealer material for many an attack on the 
administration. Plainly, it worried Washington also. This con- 
vention, Stephenson was satisfied, marked " the death knell of 
Abraham Lincoln's ambition." 36 

Again a month later the Plain Dealer foresaw Lincoln beaten 
by his own letter of acceptance. If this letter, it said, " does not 
destroy Lincoln's last chance for re-election we shall get ready 
to abandon faith in the manliness and public spirit of the peo- 
ple. . . . Thousands of his own party will abandon him in 
disgust." 37 

By midsummer Stephenson was in full cry at the heels of the 
administration. In July he criticized the President for refusing 
to " entertain propositions for a peaceful conference " on the 
war; for his refusal to " negotiate peace save on the condition of 
the absolute Abolition of Slavery in the South" The editorial 
concludes with these words: " Mr. Lincoln stands in the way 
of peace. He must be removed.' 7 3S 

One day later the paper submits " some facts for the consid- 
eration of the people," arguing fourteen reasons why Lincoln 
should not be re-elected. 39 They include charges of usurpation 
of authority, broken pledges regarding interference with slav- 
ery, attempting to destroy the independence of the judiciary, 
using to his personal advantage such utilities as the telegraph, 
the railroads and the postoffice; that he " has stood in the way 
of an honorable adjustment of the war in order to carry out 
schemes of personal aggrandizement." Climaxing this amazing 
indictment, the Plain Dealer said: 

36 May 31, 1864. Unhappily for Stephenson - happily for the coun- 
try the convention was a failure. Fremont withdrew as a candidate and 
threw his support to Lincoln. 

37 June 30. 

38 July 22, 1864. 

39 July 23. 


If the four years of Abraham Lincoln's administration have not 
graven with letters of fire upon the soul of the people the fact that 
he is a dangerous character and that his re-election would be fatal 
to the best interests of the country, then has " reason fled to brutish 
beasts " and we may as well abandon faith in the popular instincts. 

McCIellan's defeat in November discouraged but did not 
stop the tide of the paper's criticism of the administration. Im- 
mediately after the election, it urged that the general be nomi- 
nated again in 1868. 40 It found the President's annual message 
in December ** the tamest and most uninteresting paper of the 
kind that ever received the signature of the head of a great 
nation/ 7 41 

The year 1865 was for the nation one of mingled triumph and 
sorrow. It saw the surrender of Lee and the end of the war. It 
saw, also, the murder of Lincoln. 

For the Plain Dealer the train of events followed somewhat 
the same course, reversed in order. It saw the paper reach the 
lowest level of its existence, and finally witnessed its complete 
suspension. It also saw the Plain Dealer resurrected and started 
on a new career of usefulness and influence. 

Stephenson gradually piped down after the defeat of Me- 
Clellan. By the beginning of the new year his criticisms of 
the administration became increasingly perfunctory and infre- 
quent. In February he discussed the constitutional amendment 
abolishing slavery, which had then been started on its way to 
the states for ratification: 

We have long believed that the institution of slavery was hasten- 
ing on to death and its grave was being digged by the hands of its 
own supporters. For our own part, we should have been content to 
let it work out the destiny that seemed inevitable. . . . 42 

But the Plain Dealer accepted the contrary decision, as rep- 
resented by the amendment, and hoped for the best. 

40 November 11, 1864. 

41 December 8, 1864. 

42 February 1, 1865. 


In the same month it declared that " the nation has cause for 
great rejoicing and hallelujahs to the Most High ** because of 
the fall of Charleston, the "birthplace of treason." 43 

Stephenson's control of the paper now neared its end. On 
March 10 Mrs. Gray petitioned the court to remove Stephenson 
as administrator of the estate, charging unfaithfulness and fail- 
ure to perform properly the duties of his office. The court ap- 
pointed George H. Wyman as referee to hear the case, and he 
reported 44 that, after hearings were in progress, an agreement 
was reached, which took the matter out of his hands. 

The nature of the agreement was indicated by a statement 
Stephenson made to Judge Tilden that " for reasons satisfactory 
to myself and that seem to be justifiable, I hereby tender my 
resignation'* as administrator. 45 To succeed Stephenson the 
court appointed General A. S. Sanford, business man and civic 
leader, commander of the Cleveland Grays and one-time head 
of the state militia. He completed the task of settling the estate 
of his late friend, the founder of the paper. 

Meanwhile the Plain Dealer had suspended publication early 
in March. 46 Its career seemingly ended, the paper would be 
given a fresh start, under entirely new auspices, seven weeks 

43 February 20, 1865. 

44 August 19. 

45 March 23, 1865. 

46 Stephenson's last issue was either March 7 or 8. The last which the 
writer has been able to find bears the earlier date, but the numbering 
adopted after the resurrection indicates there is one day's issue missing. 
After his resignation as administrator Stephenson drifted into a variety of 
activities, lived for a time at Elyria, and then moved with his family to 
Iowa. He died at Chicago on April 11, 1892. 



The Armstrong Regime (1865-1885*) 



William W. Armstrong, Tiffin newspaper publisher and 

recently Ohio secretary of state, buys the wreckage 

of the paper, and publication is resumed. 

TEN or a dozen men sat in earnest conference in the Merchants 7 
Exchange Building, above the Leutkemyer hardware store. 1 
They were prominent Cleveland Democrats, and the object of 
their session was to consider the fact that the community no 
longer possessed a newspaper which spoke their political lan- 
guage. The Leader and the Herald preached Republican doc- 
trine morning and afternoon. The Plain Dealer had disappeared. 
Among the conferees above the hardware store were some 
of the best-known citizens of Cleveland. There were Judge 
Rufus P. Ranney, Judge Samuel Starkweather, James D. Cleve- 
land, Henry B. Payne, Harvey Rice, Thomas Stow, George F. 
Marshall, and Morris Jackson. Most of them had been friends 
of J. W. Gray. Cleveland had been an associate editor under 
the founder. In Payne's office Gray had studied law. Stow had 
been a friend and confidant of J. W. Gray and by him had been 
made foreman of the composing-room. For Rice this was the 
third time he had participated in the promotion of a Democratic 
paper in the city. He had been present in 1827 at the birth of the 

i H. W. Leutkemyer's hardware store was at 150 Superior Street, op- 
posite the Weddell House. 


Independent News-Letter, blood ancestor of the Plain Dealer, 
and for a time was its editor. He had been one of the men to 
encourage Gray to start the Plain Dealer nearly twenty years 
later. Now one of Cleveland's elder statesmen and universally 
respected, he with others sat in conference as to how to bring 
another Democratic paper into existence. 

The men found themselves immediately in agreement on one 
point: that the city and the Reserve must have such a paper. 
Alternative proposals were before the group. One was to find 
fresh capital somehow to buy what remained of the old Plain 
Dealer from the Gray estate and start publishing again the 
paper which the brothers from the St. Lawrence country had 
established in 1842. The other was to forget the Plain Dealer 
name, try to erase from memory the disaster brought on the 
property under John S. Stephenson, and start an entirely new 
paper, under new auspices and a new name. 

Thomas Stow had gathered figures indicating what it would 
cost to start from scratch. His fellow conferees shook then- 
heads. So much money for such an enterprise would be difficult 
to raise. 

Judge Ranney said he knew a man who, if he could be per- 
suaded to undertake the task, would be found capable of re- 
building the old Plain Dealer and, he believed, make a success 
of it. The man was William W. Armstrong, proprietor of the 
Seneca Advertiser at Tiffin, Ohio. Armstrong had served one 
term as Ohio secretary of state, having been elected to the office 
in that unexpected Democratic sweep of the state in the 1862 
election. He had run for re-election two years later, but was 
buried in the Republican avalanche. 

Ranney's idea seemed best to the assembled Democrats, and 
it was resolved to approach the man at Tiffin and see if he could 
be enticed to this larger field. 2 The matter, it proved, was not 
difficult to arrange. Armstrong undertook at once the difficult 

2 Tiffin in 1865 had a population of less than 5,000. Cleveland had 


task of breathing new life into a dead enterprise. And there is 
probably nothing in the whole realm of human activity quite 
so devoid of life as a newspaper whose presses have not turned 
a wheel for seven weeks. 

Exactly why at the end it was decided to suspend publica- 
tion has never been established. The only explanation one finds 
is the unconvincing one offered by General A. S. Sanford, who 
succeeded Stephenson as administrator of the estate. In the 
first number of the revived Plain Dealer Sanford declared that 
the " temporary " suspension was " owing to the passage of its 
effects from the hands of the former administrator into mine." 

Since the estate had the newspaper to sell, and a newspaper 
is so obviously more salable as a going enterprise than as one in 
suspension, it is not reasonable to suppose that in this case the 
presses were stopped and the typesetters dismissed merely to 
facilitate a transfer of authority from one administrator to an- 
other. The apparent fact is that the enterprise had been so in- 
eptly handled by Stephenson that it could no longer stand 
against the hostile sentiment of its community. 

By chance the Plain Dealer missed the opportunity of report- 
ing two epochal events in American history. When Lee surren- 
dered at Appomattox the newspaper plant at Superior and Vine- 
yard Streets was dark and its presses still. When Lincoln was 
shot in the theater at Washington less than a week later, there 
was still no Plain Dealer to chronicle the tragedy. 

By chance, again, the first issue of the paper after its resur- 
rection appeared just in time to report the capture and death 
of J. Wilkes Booth, murderer of the great President. 

On the news of Lee's surrender Cleveland streets were dec- 
orated with the national colors in token of the event which 
ended the war, and flags floated from practically every building 
in the city. Some wag made his way into the silent rooms of the 
suspended Plain Dealer and hauled a bedraggled white ensign 
to die top of the old flagpole. 3 
Herald, April 11, 1865. 


Though neither the Herald nor the Leader had deigned to 
notice the suspension of the Plain Dealer, both were soon print- 
ing gossip about its probable revival. The Leader thought 
Stephenson would be connected with it. 4 " We may very soon," 
it said, " be called upon to note the fact that this old Democratic 
journal of northern Ohio has availed to revisit the glimpses of 
the moon; nay, to brave the light of open day." 5 

Both the Plain Dealers old contemporaries greeted the an- 
nouncement of Armstrong's purchase of the paper with cordial 
words of welcome. The new proprietor, declared the Leader, 
" is a vigorous writer, and, we doubt not, will make the Plain 
Dealer one of the most able Democratic journals in the state. 
He has our best wishes for his success in all except his political 
undertakings." 6 

One day later the Herald: " In a word, we intend to live by 
the side of the Plain Dealer in gentlemanly emulation in busi- 
ness and in dignified, candid editorial opposition in politics." 

In both these comments is evidence that the community ex- 
pected the new proprietor of the Plain Dealer to conduct it as 
a political organ. There was no reason for a contrary assump- 
tion. Years later Armstrong was to admit that much of the 
trouble he encountered as a publisher in Cleveland was due to 
his following exactly this course expected of him in the begin- 

Thus after what the Leader called " a short sleep a sort of 
Rip Van Winkle episode " 7 the resurrected Plain Dealer made 
its initial bow on April 25, 1865. Above the signature of W. W. 
Armstrong appeared this statement: 


The undersigned this day assumes the management of the Cleve- 
land Plain Dealer. 

For years connected with a Democratic journal and having upon 
more than one occasion been the recipient of the confidence and 

4 March 14, 1865. 6 April 25. 

5 March 24. 7 April 26. 


support of the Democracy of Ohio, I deem it unnecessary to indulge 
in an elaborate salutatory. 

The Plain Dealer will sustain those principles adjudged by the 
Democratic party to be most conducive to the interests of the coun- 
try and the prosperity of the people. The great and paramount hope 
of all Democrats and conservatives is that our civil strife shall cease; 
that the Union may be restored and forever perpetuated; the require- 
ments of the constitution fulfilled, the rights of the states preserved, 
the liberties of the people maintained, the laws enforced, and peace 
and fraternal good feeling be re-established throughout the length 
and breadth of the land. There has been an honest difference of 
opinion as to the means of saving the Union among the people of the 
north, and, though partisans for political ends may assert otherwise, 
the Democratic party never has proposed to, nor will it ever, accept 
disunion on any terms or under any circumstances. 

Recrimination and denunciation now of one party by another, as 
to its past policy is idle. There are questions looming up which will 
soon bury in oblivion the issues of the past. They must be met. Our 
armies and generals have nobly performed the work assigned them* 
The statesmanship of the country must now be called into requisi- 
tion to bring our national difficulties to a satisfactory and permanent 
conclusion. The adoption of a conciliatory policy upon the part of 
our triumphant government will in our judgment bring about a 
restoration of the Union, a universal acknowledgment of allegiance 
to the old flag, and a ready submission of the great body of insur- 
gents to constitutional authority. Our soldiers would return to their 
former peaceful avocations; the industry of the country once more 
turned into the channels of peace, bitter animosities would be sof- 
tened, and in future all vexed questions would be disposed of without 
a resort to the powerful and destructive arbitrament of war, for after 
the bitter experience of four years, when peace does come, " She 
will not tarry with us as a wayfarer, but will dwell with us." 

The Democracy of the country must keep up their organization. 
Composed of two hundred and fifteen thousand men in Ohio, and 
numbering a million and over in the north, it has a mission to fulfill. 
The people in the dark hours of the past have entrusted it with confi- 
dence, and we have an abiding faith that they will yet turn to the 
historic old organization and ask its wisdom and experience to lead 
them once more out of trouble into the path of tranquility and per- 
manent concord. The Plain Dealer will sustain the nominees of all 
regularly constituted Democratic conventions, and by all honorable 


means seek to secure the indorsal of Democratic men and policy 
by the people. 

Armstrong, of course, realized as well as anyone the causes 
that lay back of Stephenson's failure. At the beginning he 
showed a desire to soften the antagonistic feeling in the com- 
munity which had finally proved Stephenson's undoing. In the 
first issue appeared this editorial: 


It was in contemplation to have commenced the issue of the Plain 
Dealer on Monday of last week (this was Tuesday evening) but a 
series of unlocked for circumstances intervened and prevented. The 
following article was prepared and in type for that issue. Though 
some time has elapsed since the commission of the deed commented 
upon, and comment on its atrocity has been almost exhausted, we 
give the article as it was written upon hearing of the foulest crime 
ever committed upon earth. . . . 

Abraham Lincoln is dead! He never received our suffrage, and 
we have widely differed with many of the measures of public policy 
inaugurated by his administration, yet his political opponents have 
ever entertained for him more admiration than for any of the lead- 
ing men of the administration party. They long felt that the great 
mass of voters the ** plain people " of the country had confidence 
in his personal integrity and believed that he was moved by patri- 
otic motives. Especially in connection with recent events, and in 
the late phase of the war, had Mr. Lincoln begun to secure the con- 
fidence of men of all parties. The Democratic party which had so 
zealously opposed his re-election were sincerely pleased to see that 
he manifested so decided a disposition to adopt a conciliatory and 
lenient policy that would at an early period bring to our govern- 
ment that peace and tranquility so much desired. 

Mr. Lincoln had a kindly heart, amiable temper and a forgiving 
disposition, and was undoubtedly more anxious than any of his 
party to stop the flow of blood, stay the hand of strife and re-establish 
order. Had his death been a natural one, it would have been calami- 
tous, but at an hour when he held in his hand the olive branch 
when the prospect of healing our national differences was so bright, 
when grim war with his relentless, stony heart was about to be ban- 
ished and the reign of " Fair peace, dove-eyed child of Christ/' in- 


augurated it is a calamity that all true men most sincerely deplore. 
The death of Mr. Lincoln, deeply regretted in the north, is a calam- 
ity to the south, and the assassin in putting him to death not only 
inflicted a severe blow to the north but a grievous injury to the south. 
He probably would have been more lenient in his terms to the van- 
quished insurgents than any of the leaders of the opposition party 
and the southern people as well as those of the north should there- 
fore be anxious that the guilty perpetrator of this wanton wrong 
should be brought to justice and punishment. . . . 

Armstrong was a stranger to most Cleveland people. His task 
was to piece together again an enterprise which hostile public 
sentiment had wrecked. On the second day of the new pub- 
lication came this editorial: 


The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the only Democratic paper in 
northern Ohio, has subsided vanished. Its death struggle 
was hard. 

The above paragraph we find floating in the opposition sheets in 
this and other states. Will the gentlemen of the press who have chron- 
icled the demise of the Plain Dealer in such curt terms take notice 
that it has been " born again," is in good condition and bound to 

We commend the above paragraph to the consideration of our 
Democratic friends. It is a jubilant crow over what was considered 
the final termination of the career of the Plain Dealer. . . . From our 
knowledge of the Democracy of the Reserve and of northern Ohio, 
we are satisfied that they will omit no exertions to secure for the 
Plain Dealer the circulation it should receive to make it an efficient 
organ. No truer Democrats can be found anywhere than in this sec- 
tion of our state. They have faced the storrn of detraction and braved 
the fire of political persecution they have withstood the blan- 
dishments of power and patronage with a firmness indicating that 
they have within them the consciousness of knowing they are right. 
We believe they will stand by us; we know we shall stand by them. 
In this connection we deem it proper to say that while the Plain 
Dealer shall be Democratic in its views, it will be the endeavor of 
the new management to make it a good newspaper. We will not 


make politics a specialty, though having our firm political convic- 
tions, and never hesitating to fearlessly express them. The Plain 
Dealer, granting the right of all to differ with it on political ques- 
tions, claims the same privilege for itself, and hopes to win the 
respect of its political foes, if it cannot secure their indorsal. Let time 
decide as to policy. It makes all things even. 8 

The new editor speedily acknowledges the cordiality of the 
Leader and the Herald in welcoming him to the local field: 


We return our acknowledgments to our cotemporaries of the city 
press for the favorable mention they have made of us and our enter- 
prise. In all matters pertaining to business we expect to act in har- 
mony with them, for in union of this kind there is strength. Politi- 
cally, we will differ with them. We shall grant that they are sincere 
in their belief; we claim that we are honest in our convictions. We 
shall eschew personalities in our editorial intercourse with our 
neighbors, and assure them that in this direction we shall be last to 
commence hostilities. 

There was an element of defiance in the decision of Arm- 
strong and his advisers to keep the original name of the paper. 
They might have scrapped Gray's " new bottle " and chosen a 
new designation, seeking thus to encourage newspaper readers 
to forget that a publication called the Plain Dealer had ever 

It would, of course, on the other hand have been deemed by 
many Democrats a cowardly retreat from honest convictions. 
Party feelings ran high as the war closed, and the Republicans, 
while dominant, did not rule unchallenged. There were plenty 
in the northern part of the state who still maintained that the 
Plain Dealer and other anti-administration papers had been 
right in principle, even though at times their spirit of criticism 
overleaped the bounds of reasonable propriety. 

Though Armstrong had plenty of occasion later for question- 

8 Apra26,1865. 


ing the decision to retain the name the Grays had given the 
paper twenty-three years before, the ultimate wisdom of the 
choice becomes apparent as the history of the paper unfolds. 
For Armstrong and his backers in 1865 it was chiefly a question 
as to which was the easiest and cheapest way to get a Demo- 
cratic daily started at once. There is nothing to indicate that any 
sentimental attachment was felt either toward the old paper 
or the old name which compelled the retention of the latter. 

It was thus at least as much by chance as by design that the 
name Plain Dealer was preserved. The old name was taken, 
along with the old presses, the old type, and the old traditions. 
A distinctive and advantageous designation thus survived. The 
Republicans of the Western Reserve were given notice that 
their waspish critic of antebellum days was alive again and 
ready for business at the old stand, 

A feeling which must have dwelt in many Democratic minds 
throughout the Western Reserve found expression in a letter 
signed " A. T. H." which was printed a week later: 

Friend Armstrong: When I heard the Plain Dealer had sus- 
pended I felt as though I had lost an old friend. I have taken the old 
paper for fifteen years and if you continue it fifteen years more put 
me down as a subscriber if I live! Our Union friends have been 
taunting us with the suspension of our paper, but I always told them 
it would come up all right, and thank the Lord, it has turned up 
as I predicted. 9 

The correspondent was too conservative. The paper was to 
continue far longer than the fifteen years he hoped for. It is 
already seventy-seven years since " A. T. H." wrote his letter. 
The contemporaries which welcomed Armstrong to the local 
field were, in time, to surrender it to the enterprise which Wil- 
liam W. Armstrong had called back to life. 

9 May 3, 1865. 



Peace finds Cleveland started on an era of rapid busi- 
ness growth, much of it founded on steel and 
oil. Commerce by rail and water. 

THE CLEVELAND which faced William W. Armstrong on his ar- 
rival was a different Cleveland from the one J. W. Gray found 
to greet his first efforts in journalism. In twenty-three years the 
city on the Cuyahoga had shown remarkable progress in all 
directions. It had ten times the population, many times the 
volume of business. Cincinnati was still by a wide margin the 
first city of Ohio, but its rate of growth was already far below 

The fact has been emphasized by others that this city ap- 
peared to suffer little economically from the Civil War, in spite 
of her patriotic sacrifices in men and money. Through the early 
1860 ? s, as through the 1850's, Cleveland's advancement was con- 
fident and steady. The Plain Dealer under Armstrong thus en- 
tered the scene at a time when economic opportunities were ripe 
and the need for civic leadership obvious. 

Between the federal census of 1840, two years before the 
appearance of the weekly Plain Dealer., and that of 1860, near 
the end of the Gray regime, Cleveland's population had jumped 
from 6,071 to 43,417. A local census indicated that at the end of 
the war Cleveland's population was 67,500. More important 
than the increase in numbers, however, was the change in the 



racial character of the people. The city in 1840 had been, prac- 
tically speaking, a bit of New England set down in the Western 
Reserve, though the construction of the canal had already 
brought a slight infiltration of foreign-born into the community. 

By 1860 the census-takers found that 44.76 per cent of Cleve- 
land's population was of foreign extraction. More of this immi- 
gration had come from Germany than from any other country. 
This percentage was not out of line with those of other grow- 
ing American cities. The figure for Cincinnati was 45.71 per 

Needless to say, these newcomers from Europe brought to 
the cities of their adoption brain, brawn, and an appreciation of 
America which natives too often neglect to show. Coming to 
this country as part of the migration which followed the dis- 
turbances in Germany in 1848, with Carl Schurz and others 
later to be distinguished in American history, they contributed 
mightily to the growth in material things and in character, here 
as in every other American city struggling upward in the mid- 
dle of the last century. As early as 1846 the Germania, Cleve- 
land's first German-language newspaper, made its appearance. 1 

Two events in far-separated regions contributed greatly to 
give Cleveland the impetus which was in evidence as the Civil 
War closed. Frontiersmen in search of furs and copper in the 
Northwest found iron instead, and thus unwittingly laid a cor- 
nerstone in Cleveland's manufacturing greatness. A former rail- 
road conductor, drilling for " rock oil " in Pennsylvania, found 
petroleum in such quantities as to start a new epoch in Ameri- 
can industrial expansion and gave Cleveland a major boost. 

The first ore to reach Cleveland from the newly discovered 
deposits in the Lake Superior region came in half a dozen bar- 
rels in the steamer Baltimore in 1852. These few bushels of ore 
were the trickle which grew into a mighty stream to feed the 
mills along the Cuyahoga and to make the city one of the great- 

1 The Germania was absorbed by the Anzeiger in 1890 and thus be- 
came three years later part of the Wachter und Anzeiger. 


est in the world in the production of iron and steel products. 

The Cleveland Board of Trade presented in 1866 its first com- 
plete summary of local business for the preceding year. The 
report constituted a sort of business picture of the city at the 
end of the war. 

It showed, for instance, that Cleveland's iron-ore trade in 
1865 reached a total value of $1,179,200. The local sales of manu- 
factured wrought iron, most of it from Cleveland factories, ex- 
ceeded $6,000,000. Three thousand men and $3,000,000 in cap- 
ital were employed turning out railroad iron and other prod- 
ucts of the Northwest ore beds. More than 84,000,000 feet of 
lumber had been received, while other articles made from lum- 
ber rose to imposing totals. 

Further, the Board of Trade report showed, among other 
facts, that there were then thirty oil refineries operating in 
Cleveland. John D. Rockefeller, not yet twenty-six years old, 
was already on the route to unexampled wealth from oil. In 
1865 he sold his interest in the commission business down on 
the river and put everything he had into the new industry of 
refining petroleum. His Standard Oil Company was still five 
years in the future, but the power of the trust-builder was al- 
ready being felt wherever oil was a matter of business concern. 

A capital of about a million and a half was tied into Cleve- 
land's refineries, and the city was in a fast and furious race with 
Pittsburgh for supremacy in this new enterprise of making use- 
ful for domestic purposes the crude output of an increasing army 
of pumpers. By 1869, however, there was no longer a question 
of pre-eminence. Cleveland was then the center of oil refining 
for the whole world, though located two hundred miles from 
the nearest producing wells. Transportation was the answer; 
rail and water transportation, plus the industrial genius of 

Supplementing these major activities was Cleveland's pre- 
eminence as a shipbuilding center. The Herald in September 
1865 pointed out that the city then stood " confessedly at the 


head of all places on the chain of lakes " as a builder of carriers 
by water. ** Cleveland/' it declared, " has the monopoly of pro- 
peller building, its steam tugs are the finest on the lakes, whilst 
Cleveland-built sailing vessels not only outnumber all other 
vessels on the chain of lakes but are found on the Atlantic coast, 
in English waters, up the Mediterranean and in the Baltic." 

Far-flung, indeed, was the fame of Cleveland-made products. 
The city was making in striking totals iron and steel from ore, 
refined petroleum from crude oil, ships from the resources of 
the forest. 

Thus, with steel and oil underlying the city's developing busi- 
ness strength and more important with the manufacturing 
genius present to direct the enterprises growing out of them, 
the end of the war found this metropolis of the Reserve domi- 
nating northern Ohio, as Cincinnati had long dominated the 
southern portion of the state, and coming now to be considered 
one of the most promising spots in what the East still called the 

When J. W. Gray read proof on his first issue in 1842, no 
railroad had yet come so far toward the frontier. By contrast 
Armstrong found operating daily in and out of Cleveland the 
Atlantic & Great Western, with its boasted six-foot track gauge, 
the Cleveland & Pittsburgh, Cleveland & Toledo, Cleveland, 
Columbus & Cincinnati, Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula, 2 
and the Cleveland & Mahoning. This year saw the completion 
of what was then called the magnificent union passenger sta- 
tion on the lake front. The sorry remnants of this old structure 
still stand, serving as the downtown terminal of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad. 

Street cars, horse-drawn of course, and undreamed of when 
the Plain Dealer first appeared, were now operated by three 
companies: the East Cleveland, the Kinsman Street, and the 

2 A passenger could leave Cleveland at 9.50 a.m. and, by changing to 
the New York Central at Buffalo, reach New York City at 1 p.m. the next 


West Side companies. The downtown terminus of the West Side 
cars was beside the Plain Dealer office at Superior and Vineyard 
Streets, where crews loitered between runs and passengers 
gathered to await the cars. It meant good business for the paper 
around press time, Armstrong was later to recall. There was no 
track connection between these lines and those operating east- 
ward to the Square. 

The Ohio canals were nearing the end of their usefulness so 
far as transportation was concerned, but in the 1865-6 city 
directory, Pelton, French & Co., commission and forwarding 
merchants, advertised that they were agents for the Akron 
Transportation Co., which shipped by the old waterway. 
Though the age of electricity was in the future, Edward P. Fenn 
advertised that he made " electrical apparatus of all descrip- 
tions." He would be surprised now could he know the wide vari- 
ety of appliances and the complexity of a business which was 
comparatively simple at the end of the war. 

The Ohio & Kentucky Petroleum & Mining Co. told readers 
of the directory that it owned * oil farms in the very heart of the 
lubricating oil regions of southeastern Ohio." Stock in this new 
kind of " farming " was for sale in Cleveland, the company be- 
ing represented by Davis, Peixotto & Co. The Peixotto of the 
firm was the former associate editor of the Plain Dealer. 

Gradually Cleveland was edging away from the river, though 
east of the Public Square was still considered pretty much out 
of the current of business life. And not far from the center of 
the city rural conditions prevailed. The Leader complained 
that about 150 cows wandered at large on the west side and in 
Brooklyn, and urged that the council do something about it. 
These, the editor said, were Cleveland's undesirable " vagrants." 
He warned that " owners of vagrant cows had better look out 
for their feminine bovines." 3 

The community was beginning to realize that at least one 
thing the Plain Dealer had said only a few years before was not 
3 June 14, 1865. 


likely to prove true; namely, that " the river is the natural com- 
mercial center of the city, and always will be.* 1 * 4 

Cleveland was winning renown for civic pride and beauty as 
well as for business energy. A reporter for the New York World 
attending a convention in Cleveland told his paper: " One of its 
streets which by its name of Euclid is suggestive of geometrical 
arrangements, is perhaps the finest avenue in the west, a double 
row of charming villas and gardens where one might sigh to 
dwell" 5 Such sentiments of admiration for the Euclid Avenue 
of that period were spread through the newspapers of many 

For genuine rhapsody, however, one may turn to the Juneau 
County (Wisconsin) Argus, whose editor visited Cleveland and 
then bubbled over in these words: 

The Forest City! The Fountain City! La Belle City! Cleveland! 
beautiful for situation abounding in palatial mansions looking out 
through a wealth of magnificent foliage, spangled with floral gems 
like sparkling diamonds in the flowing tresses of some fair maiden. 
Of all the western aspirants for the crown of beauty, we adjudge 
thee Queen. . . . 6 

" While Euclid Avenue is becoming each year more stylish 
and regal," remarked the Plain Dealer local, * Prospect and St. 
Clair and Lake streets and even Kinsman street are raising 
their heads and are constantly increasing their supply of beauti- 
ful homes.** 7 

Cleveland saw its first steam fire-engine in 1862. The next 
year brought the first paid fire department. In 1864, under Post- 
master Cowles, the city's first mail-carrier began his door-to- 
door deliveries, marking a great forward stride in the govern- 

4 January 5, 1859. Compare this with the Herd&s statement (April 
21, 1826) that Cleveland's peculiar soil "will forever render it unneces- 
sary to pave " the city's streets! 

5 Quoted by the Plain Dealer, May 25, 1863. 

6 Quoted by the Plain Dealer, June 18, 1863. 

7 July 10, 1866. 


ment postal service. The year the Plain Dealer reappeared, 
Cleveland got its first professional baseball team. 

Geographically as well as industrially the city had taken ad- 
vantage of the years between 1842 and 1865 to consolidate its 
strength. The year 1850 saw the annexation of the rest of Cleve- 
land township, which extended the city limits on the east to 
what is now East 55th Street. Four years later Ohio City, west of 
the river, joined her former rival and became part of Cleveland. 
That part of Brooklyn township which, to the west of Irishtown 
bend of the Cuyahoga, pointed like a huge thumb toward the 
heart of the city was annexed in 1864. Using present-day ter- 
minology, the city then extended from East 55th to West 58th 
Street and southerly to a line following roughly the Big Four 
Railroad west of the river and the Nickel Plate to the east. 

The Public Square had become a new center of activity. Busi- 
ness structures had largely supplanted the dwellings which so 
nearly surrounded the area in the early 1840*s. The Perry Monu- 
ment, encircled by an iron picket fence, stood in the center 
where now Superior Avenue and Ontario intersect. The post- 
office had taken the place of the building which housed the 
Ark. The whole area was lighted by gas. The Forest City House 
was there, occupying the site it would hold for many decades, 
finally to give way to the present Hotel Cleveland. On the south 
rim of the Square stood the National Hall, of four stories, with 
an opera house in its upper reaches. 

The Courthouse of 1828 had been erased from the Square in 
1858, the county then moving its administrative activities to the 
new building which stood until its recent demolition beside the 
Cleveland Electric Illuminating Building looking at the Square 
from the north. Though business had pretty largely taken pos- 
session of the space surrounding the Square, lower Superior 
Street stretching toward the river still retained importance as 
a shopping center. East of the Square, and particularly along 
Euclid Avenue, lay regions as yet uninvaded by the pursuits of 


In 1861 the city council officially had changed the designation 
of the Public Square to Monumental Park, giving it a name sup- 
posedly more appropriate for a city of pretentious achieve- 
ments. But the name did not stick. The people continued to use 
the original title and the council's meddlesomeness was forgot- 
ten. No less a figure in the community than Harvey Rice later 
suggested that die name of the Square be changed to Central 
Park. 8 Happily, this suggestion like the other gained no popu- 
larity. Regardless of what the record at the City Hall shows, the 
Public Square remains by common acceptance that and nothing 

Though it was generally agreed that the removal of the Court- 
house from the Square was a great improvement in the appear- 
ance of the center of the city, restoring the area more nearly to 
the purpose that lay back of its original dedication, repeated 
efforts were made in succeeding years again to encumber the 
area with public buildings. The Plain Dealer opposed the idea 
of putting the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument where it now 
stands, arguing that a more appropriate site should be found 
and the Square left an open breathing place in the midst of a 
teeming city. 9 

When this suggestion was overruled, however, the Plain 
Dealer went far in the other direction. It insisted that since the 
state supreme court had decided the city of Cleveland " has 
control of the Public Square only as a trust delegated to it by 
the General Assembly and that the General Assembly can at any 
time and for any portion revoke the trust, reassume control and 
delegate it to some other body/* the municipality should build 
its much-needed City Hall in one quarter of the Square lest 
the legislature give it to someone else. 10 Later the Plain Dealer 
urged that the new Courthouse be built in one quarter of the 
Square, and a new library building in another quarter. 11 

All this was prior to the birth of the Group Plan idea. Fortu- 

8 Plain Dealer, July 23, 1886. 10 December 4, 1892. 

August 25, 1892. * March 13, 1895. 


nately, better judgment prevailed and the Square has not again 
been encumbered with public buildings. In no case could the 
space available have been adequate for the uses of a million- 
peopled city. Courthouse, City Hall, and Public Library have 
found far better locations elsewhere. 

Cleveland, with the other cities of Ohio, was in 1865 operat- 
ing under the so-called uniform code adopted by the legisla- 
ture in 1852. The measure was unsatisfactory and before its 
repeal in 1870 was many times amended to make it more work- 
able. One difficulty, as Mayor Edward S. Flint had pointed out 
in 1863, was that the powers of municipal chief executives were 
so circumscribed that he could not exercise on the affairs of the 
community the authority which his constituents expected of 
him. This fault was corrected in part by revisions of the code, 
but the handicap of insufficient executive jurisdiction contin- 
ued for five years beyond the war. 

Though Republican Party strength ran strong throughout 
Ohio, as the war closed, Cleveland was already giving early 
signs of that independence in politics which was to become note- 
worthy in after years. The mayor first elected after Armstrong's 
arrival was Stephen Buhrer, a Democrat. The Plain Dealer in 
the years ahead played an important part in encouraging this 
spirit of political independence in the community. 

Thus near the beginning of this era in Cleveland history, 
which Elroy M. Avery calls one of " remarkable development " 
for the city, the Plain Dealer under new ownership, a new pro- 
prietorship, and a new editorship made its fresh bid for public 
confidence and support. The man from Tiffin had a more diffi- 
cult task ahead of him than he could have realized at the mo- 



An old-school partisan editor who came in time to realize 
the error of arguing politics when his readers 
wanted news; city treasurer, post- 
master, and Jacksonian. 

THE MAN called from Tiffin to revive the Cleveland Plain Dealer 
was already known to thousands of Ohio Democrats as a fight- 
ing partisan editor, a man as facile in speech as with his pen, 
recently completing a term as secretary of state for Ohio. He 
was to become a familiar figure in Cleveland for the remaining 
forty years of his life. 

Though the proprietor of an Ohio Democratic newspaper 
throughout the Civil War, William Wirt Armstrong * had not 
committed the fearful error which John S. Stephenson made in 
relation to the Plain Dealer. He did not persistently antagonize 
his community by an anti-war policy. Had he done so, indeed, 
he would not have received the invitation to come to Cleveland 
in order to bring back to life the institution wrecked by Stephen- 

1 Armstrong went through life with the prefix " Major ** to his name, 
but the source of the title was never explained. "" The origin of Major 
Armstrong's military title," the Leader once said, " is one of the puzzles of 
the age one of the things that this generation may have to leave un- 
settled for the next to wrestle with Perhaps he is a major because he 
wears long chin whiskers and is the * father/ as Mayor Blee expresses it, 
' of the rooster * " (Leader, March 29, 1895) . 


son's folly, for that group of Democrats above Leutkemyer's 
hardware store had judgment, loyalty, and a sense of commu- 
nity responsibility. Nor would Mrs. Gray, the widow, or Gen- 
eral A. S. Sanford, the administrator, have sanctioned such a 
disposal of the property. 

Armstrong was born at New Lisbon, Ohio, March 18, 1833, 
the youngest son of John Armstrong, a prominent and influential 
citizen of Columbiana County. From 1847, when he was four- 
teen years of age, until 1886, when he retired from the editor- 
ship of the Plain Dealer, the son was continually identified with 
newspaper-making in Ohio. 

In a letter written by William D. Morgan of New Lisbon to 
his friend John G. Breslin of Tiffin, dated March 5, 1847, is given 
a frank word picture of the future editor and proprietor: 

Dear Breslin: 

Your letter of the 26th ult, is received. Young Armstrong, of 
whom you desire information, is the son of one of our most esti- 
mable citizens and is a lad of uncommon capacity. He is about 14 
years of age is an excellent scholar, has picked up a fine stock of 
information, and has a natural business aptitude that fits him for 
almost any position in life. I have no doubt that by proper manage- 
ment on your part, he would prove to you a most valuable auxiliary. 
His disposition is such as to require more of firmness than severity, 
and an appeal to his heart would be more effective than an applica- 
tion to his back. Here, he has many boyish associations that it is 
well to break off before he grows older, and in guarding him from 
evil company in his new home your greatest trouble would be 
avoided. . . . An unfortunate turn in his father's affairs (a few 
years since) rendered it necessary for all the sons to abandon the 
hope of being " started in business." Hence their own good sense 
has taught them the necessity of striking out for themselves. 

In conclusion, I can only repeat that William's mental abilities 
and intuitive aptitude for business are altogether above ordinary. 
Like all other boys, he doubtless may have faults. ... I do not 
doubt that if you take this lad, he will find in you a friend as well as 
master. If I feared otherwise I would ask it at your hands as a 
favor to myself. I have not the pleasure of your good lady's ac- 
quaintance but I have assured Gen, Armstrong that if you are the 


same Breslin you once were and your wife is after your own heart, 
little Billie will find under your roof a second home. In much haste, 

Yours truly, 

Young Armstrong made the connection at Tiffin which his 
sponsor thus sought for him, and years later the favor was to be 
returned when Armstrong brought Morgan to Cleveland to as- 
sume with him the joint proprietorship of the Plain Dealer. 

So Armstrong became an apprentice in the office of the 
Seneca Advertiser, which he would one day own. He made so 
favorable an impression on his "master/" Breslin, that when 
the latter became state treasurer he made Armstrong register 
of the bank department, though the young printer was then but 
nineteen years of age. 

In 1854 Armstrong returned to Tiffin and purchased the Ad- 
vertiser, thus entering on his majority and his editorial career 
practically together. Three years later he married Sara V., 
daughter of Josiah Hedges, founder of Tiffin, and that same 
year, 1857, became postmaster of the village by appointment of 
President Buchanan, continuing in the office until the Repub- 
licans moved into Washington. Unlike J. W. Gray, Armstrong 
was not a man to let loyalty to an anti-administration figure 
jeopardize his standing at the White House. 

Mr, Morgan's " little Billie " was now launched on his politico- 
journalistic career. He came to Cleveland in 1859 with a com- 
mittee of Tiffin Democrats to invite Stephen A. Douglas to visit 
the Seneca County capital for an address. The Senator accepted 
the invitation, and Gray accompanied him. In 1861 Armstrong 
was candidate for Ohio secretary of state, running against the 
ticket headed by David Tod, Union nominee for governor, but 
was defeated. In 1862, in better Democratic weather, he was 
elected to the office, serving through the second half of the 
Civil War. 2 

2 Armstrong as secretary of state signed three commissions for William 
McKinley; as second lieutenant, as first lieutenant, and as captain. 


Armstrong had not been long in Cleveland before the old 
lure of party service and reward became strong again. He was 
having trouble enough getting his new publishing enterprise 
going, but there seemed to be plenty of time for party affairs. 
The Plain Dealer office at Superior and Vineyard quickly be- 
came a party rallying point, as it had been in Gray's time. In 
half a dozen national conventions Armstrong sat as a delegate, 
sometimes from Cuyahoga County and sometimes from the 
state at large. In 1884 he was instrumental in throwing the Ohio 
delegation to Grover Cleveland, hastening his nomination, 
though Ohio had a candidate of its own in Allen G. Thurman. 
Armstrong was a member of the national committee from 1880 
to 1884. 

He declined a nomination for secretary of state in 1880 and 
for lieutenant governor the next year. He campaigned for the 
nomination for Congress in 1882, but withdrew his name in the 
convention and the honor went to Martin A. Foran, who was 
elected. He was made a member of Cuyahoga County's first 
Board of Elections in 1885; was elected city treasurer in 1891, 
defeated for county treasurer in 1893, and for city treasurer two 
years later. 3 The list of offices for which he was ** mentioned " 
from time to time constituted a perpetual recognition of his 
availability. A major disappointment of his life was that so 
rarely was there a Democratic majority to turn hopes into 

Armstrong's crowning achievement in office-holding came in 
1887, shortly after his retirement from the staff of the Plain 
Dealer, when President Cleveland appointed him postmaster. 
He was the sixth newspaper editor to hold the office. His selec- 
tion was everywhere acclaimed as a fit recognition of the serv- 

8 Armstrong's election as city treasurer was a personal triumph. He 
was the only Democrat chosen, successfully resisting the Republican 
sweep which carried William G. Rose, candidate for mayor, and all the 
rest of his ticket into office. 


ices he had performed for the community and his party in 
northern Ohio. 

The difficulties which confronted Armstrong were much like 
those with which J. W. Gray had to wrestle for much of the 
period of his control. Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and the 
Reserve continued to vote strongly for the party which had con- 
ducted the war. In campaign after campaign the Plain Dealer 
found itself on the losing side. It had not yet lived down the 
reputation which Stephenson had given it. Neither the trucu- 
lent Leader nor the less aggressive Herald intended to let the 
Plain Dealer forget its own past. 

Said the Leader: " The Plain Dealer is beginning to appreci- 
ate the fact that its record during and since the war is one that 
will cover it with infamy when the principles which triumphed 
in the suppression of the rebellion are made secure and eternal 
in the government/* * 

At the outset Armstrong foresaw the difficulty and declared: 
" Being published in a locality where it receives neither city, 
county, state or national patronage, compelled as it were to 
carry the flag of the Democratic party within the very entrench- 
ments of the political enemy, it [the Plain Dealer] must in a 
great measure be dependent upon the support of its political 
friends. . . " 5 

The Fremont Messenger paid Armstrong this compliment: 
" As editor of an influential Democratic newspaper in a dark 
wilderness of Political Phariseeism, during the darkest hour of 
our party's history, he labored constantly and unceasingly for 
the party when it was almost worth a man's life to say he was 
a Democrat." 

Armstrong himself expressed much the same idea when, 
shortly after his retirement from the Plain Dealer, he wrote: 
" Publishing a Democratic paper in the Western Reserve in a 

4 September 10, 1866. 
s April 26, 1865. 


heated partisan fight required as much courage as that possessed 
by the crusader who, to redeem the Holy Land from the infidel, 
had to march over the sandy desert, face the hot blasts of the 
sirocco and be possessed of the endurance of the camel." 

Never in Armstrong's life was this " Holy Land " quite " re- 
deemed." If anyone could have accomplished the feat by means 
of printer's ink and limitless courage, the man from Tiffin would 
have achieved it. 

For a time after taking over the Plain Dealer Armstrong di- 
vided his attention between Cleveland and Tiffin. He remained 
proprietor of the Advertiser until 1867, when he sold a half- 
interest to John M. Myers. In 1876 he sold the remaining half 
to John M. and E. S. Myers. 6 Thereafter, his sole business inter- 
est was the Plain Dealer, and he made his home in Cleveland 
until his death in 1905. 

It was Armstrong who gave the common barnyard rooster 
official standing as the emblem of the Democratic Party in 
Ohio. The adoption of the Australian ballot in the state seemed 
to require some symbol to stand at the head of each party col- 
umn. The Republicans chose the eagle. As far back as 1841 the 
rooster had been used in many states, without specific authoriza- 
tion; originally, it is claimed, in Indiana. 

When the question of adopting a Democratic Party emblem 
for the new Ohio ballot arose, the Plain Dealer urged that the 
American flag be used. 7 In the state convention of 1891 Arm- 
strong, who had retired from the paper five years before, was a 
delegate. He did not agree with his former colleagues. To the 
convention he said: 

I think that we should adopt as the emblem of the Democratic 
party of Ohio the old game cock rooster. The Republicans will recog- 
nize that as our symbol and every man who ever voted the Demo- 
cratic ticket can put his mark under the rooster. Republicans have 
adopted the eagle, the emblem of Emperor William of Germany. I 

6 Plain Dealer, January 24, 1876. 

7 June 18, 1891. 

Editor end Proprietor, 1865-85 







iip^iwr AT ; 


1, Nor. Tl.-ArmUtke fc 

A study in Plain Dealer Headlines 


am for the game cock, the good old rooster, which has always been 
the Democratic symbol. 

His suggestion was adopted, and ever since then the rooster 
of Democracy has stood proudly at the head of the party column 
at each state election in Ohio. 

Chanticleer not only roosted on the ballot but came in flocks 
to the Democratic press. To the Plain Dealer he came in wood- 
cuts, of sizes large and small, and no Democratic victory could 
be properly heralded without a plenitude of roosters scattered 
through the news columns, crowing the glad tidings to all the 
world. After an election like that of 1876, which was supposed 
to show Tilden elected president, the news pages of the Plain 
Dealer looked like a poultry poster with all the hens eliminated. 

Armstrong lived through many political disappointments, but 
probably none to equal Tilden's loss of the presidency. For 
long after the 1877 inauguration, the man in the White House 
was, so far as the Plain Dealer was concerned, either ** His 
Fraudulency" or "President" Hayes, the eloquent quotation 
marks in the latter instance bespeaking the editor's unalterable 
conviction that the Democratic candidate, rightfully elected, 
had been viciously counted out through Republican chicanery. 
That opinion was, of course, shared by scores of thousands of 
Democrats throughout the country. 

A fundamental error in Armstrong's management of the Plain 
Dealer lay in his over-emphasis of politics. He continued to 
make the paper a partisan organ at a period when public opin- 
ion and the interest of newspaper readers in general were veer- 
ing sharply away from principles in publication which had been 
accepted without question in Armstrong's youth. He had been 
brought up in a school no longer so popular as it had been. 

Armstrong himself later realized his error in over-emphasiz- 
ing the importance of partisan political discussion, but he did 
not discover it soon enough to do much about it. Years afterward 
in a column of reminiscences, discussing conditions in this pe- 
riod of the Plain Dealer story, Armstrong wrote: * Unfortu- 


nately for the proprietor, perhaps, he felt it encumbent upon 
himself to occupy too much space in the discussion of party 
politics, and too little to the gathering of news/* 8 

Both the Herald and the Leader showed better judgment than 
the Plain Dealer in this regard. In at least one other respect, 
however, Armstrong was wiser than either of his competitors. 
He realized, as neither Cowles nor Benedict appeared to realize 
but as Gray and Stephenson had begun to that the charac- 
ter of Cleveland's population, both racially and religiously, had 
changed sharply since the days which saw the advent of the 
Leader, , 9 He recognized, too, that in large part this new element 
in the population had a strong leaning toward the Democratic 

** To what depth of degradation will the Plain Dealer not 
descend," remarked the Leader, * in order to curry favor with 
Catholic voters!" 10 

The same slant of mind is indicated by the Leader's discussion 
of Armstrong on the occasion of his seeking a congressional 

Mr. Armstrong has toadied to the saloon interests, the Catholic in- 
terests, the bummer element and smiled sweetly on the communist 
crowd, and if ever a man was entitled to favors from the Democracy 
on account of his dirty work, that man is W. W. Armstrong. He was 
a first-class Democratic copperhead, and as a demagogue he is un- 
rivalled. . . . Major, our advice to you is, don't run! u 

It is not to be assumed, however, that the routine of Arm- 
strong's days was controlled by the crow of his beloved roosters. 
He had interests other than political. He was a charter member 

s Plain Dealer, June 9, 1889. 

8 A Plain Dealer editorial on July 20, 1863 defended the Cleveland 
Irish from the charge that they intended to resist conscription for war. The 
Leader denounced the ** open alliance between the Democratic party and 
the Catholic church " (June 7, 1875) and was sure that " the Irish form a 
third of the Democratic party " (August 31, 1875). 

10 July 17, 1871. 

11 September 2, 1882. 


of the Union Club. Projects for the betterment of Cleveland had 
his active approval. He realized, as sagacious publishers must, 
that a paper's welfare cannot be dissociated from that of the 
community where it dwells. 

Writing of Armstrong a few years after his retirement, J. EL A. 
Bone, the Heralds last editor, who remained to help guide the 
morning Plain Dealer in its early days, paid him this well- 
measured tribute: 

The exigencies of partisan politics compel an editor to say and do 
many things which as a private citizen he would avoid, but Major 
Armstrong as an editor, no matter how great the strain of party obli- 
gations, never lost sight of the interests of Cleveland and could al- 
ways be depended on to speak " the word in season w and to follow 
it up with action to the extent of his ability whenever the occasion 
demanded. 12 

Always a militant partisan, Armstrong was everywhere popu- 
lar even among men who deprecated his politics and wished his 
paper nothing but bad luck. He was a clever after-dinner 
speaker, welcome in circles far removed from partisan counsels. 
Editors and cartoonists of the opposition press made merry with 
his personal traits, his short stature and his fiery auburn beard, 
and his political prophecies, usually unfulfilled, but his own 
good nature never faltered/ 3 

Armstrong's retirement from the editorship of the paper he 
had guided through twenty years of tribulation came near the 
beginning of the second year following the disposal of his con- 
trolling interest in the property. The Plain Dealer bade him a 
friendly farewell: 

In accordance with his own will, and pursuant to a pre-existing 
contract, Major W. W. Armstrong retires from the position of editor- 
in-chief of the PLAIN DEALER, but still retains a pecuniary interest in 
the company. His disassociation with the editorial management of 

12 October 15, 1893. 

13 " The Bombastus Furiosa of Seneca street " was one of the Leader's 
many characterizations of Armstrong (July 16, 1875). 


the paper, with which he has been for more than twenty years con- 
nected, is a matter of regret to his successors and colleagues who 
heartily wish him the success in any position of political or business 
life in which he may be placed that his superior merits deserve. The 
PLAIN DEALEB is fortunate in the prospect of Major Armstrong's 
ready and brilliant pen being used in contributing to its columns 
from time to time as he may feel disposed, letters, reminiscences and 
other articles that will always be read with interest. 14 

No less cordial toward Armstrong was the comment of the 
always critical Leader: 

An active journalistic career of thirty-nine years has fairly entitled 
him to a respite from the burden of responsibility attaching to the 
management of a newspaper. His retirement was due entirely to a 
desire to be relieved of the exacting duties of the position he has 
occupied so long and honorably. Mr. Armstrong's relations with the 
present owner of the Plain Dealer are of the most pleasant nature 
and though retiring from an active participation in the management 
he still retains a pecuniary interest in the paper. . . . 

He is without doubt one of the best known Democratic editors in 
the country. The constant and spirited controversy between the 
Leader and Mr. Armstrong was due simply to his partisanship. . . . 
He has been a leading spirit in the political, business and social life 
of this city. . . . The part taken by Mr. Armstrong in the public 
affairs of the city would fill pages of a newspaper. . . . 

Following his retirement, Armstrong wrote much for the 
paper he so long controlled. His columns of remembered his- 
tory, particularly that relating to political events in Ohio, were 
widely read. He found time to travel and his letters from the 
South and the Far West were examples of excellent newspaper 

Armstrong had the misfortune if such it was of living on 
in the community for years after his retirement from active 
work. Too many people had known him " when." These years, 
nearly a score of them, covered the period of his postmastership 
and of his service as city treasurer. They covered, too, several 

^ January 14, 1886. 


unsuccessful quests for office. Armstrong was a familiar igure 
on the streets, personally as popular as ever, hut as the years 
came on there was an element of pathos In the figure of the 

Charles E. Kennedy, for years a prominent newspaper man 
in Cleveland, gives a picture of Armstrong in his latter days in 
his volume of reminiscences Fifty "Years of Cleveland: 

His newspaper (the Plain Dealer) badly in debt, Armstrong had 
been glad to quit his activities and clear himself from the obligations 
he had accumulated over a series of years. Everybody who knew 
this plucky little journalist of the old school was sympathetic in the 
fate that overcame him in his declining years. His was an illustration 
of too much stress laid upon the political function of a newspaper. 

This he afterward admitted and commented upon with much bit- 
terness when in later years he frequently called on me in the Plain 
Dealer editorial rooms, where I was in charge. The " Major " a per- 
fectly gratuitous title he had long held in the community enjoyed 
dropping in the office to look over the exchanges, sometimes carrying 
home a bundle of them for leisure examination. They were reminders 
to him of old editorial days, and I was always glad to observe how 
his eye would light up and part of the trembling leave his hands as 
he grasped and spread out a copy of some familiar daily visitor from 
the presses of another city. 

On this occasion, early in Nineteen Hundred, he sat for a long 
while at my desk, finally saying to me in voice very husky and low: 
* Charlie, just thirty years ago today I came to Cleveland and bought 
the Plain Dealer. I was worth $180,000 and at the end I found it 
pretty hard sledding. Today the old paper is worth many times that 
and the big reason is that you fellows are wise enough to keep poli- 
ticians from dictating to you. . . . 

On the occasion of his death, more than twenty years after 
his relinquishment of control of the Plain Dealer, the paper paid 
this tribute to its former editor and proprietor: 

The death of Maj. W. W. Armstrong is the snapping of an inter- 
esting political and journalistic link with the past. . . . Maj. Arm- 
strong, as a newspaper man and politician, was of the old school of 
which few representatives remain. As a newspaper worker he began 


at the printing office case, and as a politician in the ranks at a time 
when a journalist was almost of necessity a politician. His labors in 
both fields were unceasing and his rewards large though never in 
proportion to his endeavors. He served the federal, state and city 
governments in various capacities and his name was known and his 
influence felt in the larger political field longer and more decisively 
than those of most men who achieve political prominence. . . . 

M a j. Armstrong was endowed far above most men with the faculty 
of making friends. His genial personality, underlying which was a 
solid foundation of integrity, native wit and shrewdness, made him 
the most charming of companions. . . . He will long be remem- 
bered by his friends and associates for his many admirable traits and 
lovable personal qualities. 15 

April 22, 1905. 



William D. Morgan and Frederick W. Green, in turn, own 
half interest in the Plain Dealer, but for most of 
the period Armstrong rules alone. No- 
table men on the staff. 

IN a personal note signed by W. W. Armstrong nearly a year 
after his acquirement of the Plain Dealer, the editor announced: 

I have this day sold and transferred one-half interest in the Cleve- 
land Plain Dealer to Hon. Wm. Duane Morgan, formerly auditor of 
state and for many years connected with the Democratic press of 
Ohio. ... It is a source of gratification to me to state that the 
patronage of the Plain Dealer from the day it passed into my hands 
until the present hour has been steadily on the increase and that the 
paper is on the high road to permanent success. 1 

Armstrong had found that more money was needed to keep 
the paper attuned to its opportunities than he could himself 
command. The Leader and the Herald were enlarging, adding 
new features and giving other evidences of prosperity, and their 
Democratic competitor must do no less. 

William Duane Morgan was an elder brother of Brigadier 
General George W. Morgan, who served in the Texas war for 
independence and in the Mexican War, and who in the first 

* March 1, 1866. 


year of the Civil War was given command of a brigade of 
volunteers. 2 

Both brothers were born at Washington, Pennsylvania, grand- 
sons of William Duane, who edited the Aurora at Philadelphia 
during the Jefferson administration and for years thereafter. 3 
The grandfather's namesake came to Ohio in 1840 and bought 
the Ohio Patriot at New Lisbon, continuing its publication until 
1852. At that time he was elected auditor of state, being the 
first chosen by popular vote to that office under the new consti- 
tution. After one term as auditor Morgan moved to Newark and 
bought the Advocate. 

From Newark he accepted Armstrong's invitation to take a 
half-interest in the Plain Dealer. This connection was to be 
brief, and it cannot be said that Morgan added much to either 
the fame or the prosperity of the paper. He belonged to the same 
old-school political persuasion which was already putting its 
mark on Armstrong's conduct of the enterprise. He was as un- 
aware of the new day as was Armstrong himself. 

A little more than a year after the announcement of Morgan's 
coming to the Plain Dealer, the paper reluctantly called atten- 
tion to his withdrawal on account of ill health. 4 In a personal 
note the same day Morgan declared: 

It is unnecessary for me to say to those familiar with the Plain 
Dealer for the past two years that the paper under Mr. Armstrong 
will continue in the hands of a gentleman eminently able to render 
it useful, efficient, entertaining and popular. Whilst he devotes his 
time and talents to the maintenance of the organ, of which the 
Democracy of northern Ohio may be proud, every friend of the 
establishment should be careful to make that friendship active and 

2 Whitelaw Reid in his Ohio in the War calls Morgan a " Democratic 
politician " best remembered for " his evacuation of Cumberland Gap/* 
Under President Polk he served successively as consul and minister to 
Portugal. He was Democratic candidate for governor in 1865. 

s The Aurora was a violent anti-British organ of the Republican (now 
Democratic) Party and a spokesman for Jefferson. 

4 March 28, 1867. 


beneficial Let the interest and good-will of its friends continue to 

be testified in constant increasing additions to its subscription list* 

The Herald* " regretting ** to note Morgan's retirement, said 
he had " edited the Plain Dealer with great ability and perfect 
fairness, and, while we do not approve his political views, we 
do respect and commend the candor and courtesy displayed in 
their advocacy. . . , 5 

Reminiscing of and in the Plain Dealer years later, Armstrong 
said of Morgan, who had then just died: " My senior in years 
and at that time having much more experience than I in public 
affairs, I was sorry to part with him. He was the most industrious 
man I ever knew in journalism, although not so ready a writer 
as many others before and since connected with the Plain 
Dealer." 6 

After leaving Cleveland, Morgan reassumed control of the 
Newark Advocate. He again retired to Washington, Pennsyl- 
vania, in 1885. 

In the month succeeding Morgan's entrance on his copartner- 
ship with Armstrong what seems now an odd experiment was 
undertaken. On a day in April the Plain Dealer appeared, in- 
creased in size from seven to eight columns. 7 Thereafter for 
weeks the width of the paper varied from day to day. The pur- 
chaser never knew from one edition to the next whether he 
would get seven columns or eight. After a few weeks, however, 
the novelty seems to have lost its hold on the management and 
eight columns became standard, as it was with the other Cleve- 
land papers. 8 

When Judge Hiram V. Willson of the federal district court 

5 March 29. 

6 March 27, 1887. 

7 April 7, 1866. 

8 The same policy was tried again in 1893. It was designed, the paper 
said (October 2), for the sake of flexibility: "Almost at the moment of 
going to press the width of the paper can be changed. . . . Such elas- 
ticity in the matter of size is not possible in any other Ohio newspaper 


retired in 1867, a future Plain Dealer associate and a past associ- 
ate left their posts with him. One was Frederick W. Green, clerk 
of the court, and the other was James D. Cleveland, his deputy. 
Cleveland had been associate editor under Gray. Green would 
within a few weeks become half -owner of the paper with Arm- 
strong, thus taking the place of Morgan, recently resigned. 

The Plain Dealer announced on June 3, 1867 that Frederick 
W. Green " has this day purchased a half -interest in the Plain 
Dealer and will be associated with Mr. Armstrong in its editorial 
management." The association was to continue for nearly seven 
years and covered an important period in the story of the paper. 

Green was born in Frederick, Maryland, in 1816 and moved 
to Tiffin in the year of Armstrong's birth, 1833. He became inter- 
ested in Democratic politics at once and served six years as 
auditor of Seneca County. First elected to Congress from the 
Tiffin district in 1850, he served two terms, stepping from the 
national house to the federal court clerkship in Cleveland. In 
Cleveland he was to identify himself actively with party politics. 

He thus brought to his service on the Plain Dealer much the 
same background as that of Armstrong himself and of his earlier 
partner, Morgan. All three had been trained in practical poli- 
tics; all had been Democratic office-holders. They were in com- 
plete agreement that, as Morgan wrote, ** each succeeding year 
has confirmed the conviction that the active existence of that 
[the Democratic] party is a necessity to a free government/' 9 

Green was the kind of partner Armstrong was certain to have 
sought. He was not the kind the Plain Dealer, trying to re- 
establish itself in a community politically hostile, most needed 
at that period. 

Green retired as co-editor and co-proprietor with Armstrong 
on February 5, 1874. In his farewell, die departing partner said: 

Much may be allowed to the Democratic editor contending against 
the overwhelming Republican majorities in the Western Reserve. 

9 Plain Dealer, March 8, 1866. 


To publish a paper in a portion of the state where three-quarters of 
the population are in accord with its political principles is compara- 
tively easy work, but to do so when the sentiments of a large majority 
of the voters are on the other side requires, to say the least, consider- 
able nerve and patience, combined with a good deal of hard work. 10 

After leaving the paper because of his Impaired health, Green 
remained a resident of Cleveland. He was one of Ohio's com- 
missioners to the Centennial Exposition, and in 1878 was given 
the political appointment of state inspector of oil. 

At his death, on June 18, 1879, the Plain Dealer pointed out 
that Cleveland was indebted to Green " for his successful efforts 
[in Congress] for the passage of the act creating the new judicial 
district, under which the United States courts were after 1855 
held for the northern district of Ohio in this city. . . . We can 
truly say that we do not believe he ever wittingly wronged a 
single soul." 

Thus in Armstrong's nearly twenty years* control of the Plain 
Dealer he was sole editor and publisher for all but eight of them. 
Even though William Duane Morgan and Frederick W. Green 
were in succession half -owners of the paper, they both bowed 
to the wishes of the younger man who invited them into the 
partnership. The paper was what Armstrong made it, regardless 
of who were partners or associates. 

The Plain Dealer was fortunate in the quality of men who 
came to it under Armstrong and remained through stormy 
weather as well as fair. George Hoyt was one such associate. 
He came to the paper under Gray, left it to join the Union army, 
and returned to it after Armstrong assumed control. 

When the Plain Dealer Publishing Company was organized 
in 1877, Hoyt became vice president. Next to Armstrong, he 
owned more stock in the company than any other individual. 
Hoyt was a type of the thoroughly trained and all-round experi- 
enced newspaper man capable of doing anything about the 
plant which day-to-day exigencies required. 

10 February 10, 1874. 


Another of Armstrong's men of note was Nelson S. Cobleigh. 
Born at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in 1845, he came to Cleve- 
land in 1867 and after two years with the Leader joined the 
Plain Dealer under the copartnership of Armstrong and Green. 
He remained with the paper until 1890, serving it many years 
as city editor and finally as associate editor. Cobleigh was vice 
president of the city council and a member of the councilmanic 
committee which fixed the site of the eastern terminus of the old 
Superior viaduct. 

In 1890 he left Cleveland and spent the rest of his thirty-five 
years in newspaper work on the staff of the New York World. 
Mr. Cobleigh was a man of fine literary attainments., in recogni- 
tion of which fact he was given honorary degrees by Yale and 
Wesleyan Universities. He died on March 3, 1927. 

A notable member of the staff during the last years of the 
Armstrong regime was Gilbert W. Henderson, who, recom- 
mended to the proprietor as the "best all-around newspaper 
man in the state/" lx came to the Plain Dealer as telegraph editor 
in 1880. ** For political purposes," Armstrong wrote Henderson, 
he was turning the Plain Dealer from an evening to a morning 
paper and wanted Henderson on the staff. 

The morning edition lasted nearly eight months and was said 
at the time to have cost the owner forty thousand dollars. Cleve- 
land already had two morning papers and was in no receptive 
mood for a third one, especially if it were Democratic. Arm- 
strong claimed he had been promised substantial support which 
was not forthcoming when needed. Henderson stayed on. When 
the paper was sold a few years later, he proved useful in helping 
the new administration learn the routine of publication. 

Henderson was born at Cadiz, Ohio, in 1850 and died in 
Cleveland before he was thirty-nine. 12 He first taught school 
for a time, but in 1877 began work on the Columbus Journal. 
He was a co-founder and co-proprietor of the Columbus Capital, 

11 Armstrong, in the Plain Dealer, August 11, 1889. 
13 Born October 13, 1850; died August 7, 1889. 


a weekly, but the venture failed. Three years later lie was ready 
to accept the telegraph editorship of the Plain Dealer, 

He was writing editorials when the Armstrong period came 
to an end and the Holden group took possession. In 1886 he 
was news editor. After the change of ownership Armstrong re- 
mained for one year as editor in order, the Leader said, to tutor 
R. R. Holden for the job." At the end of the year, however, the 
Leader declared the tutoring was not as yet successful and 
Henderson was shifted to the teacher's role, becoming for the 
time the real editor of the paper. 14 

Henderson was a Democrat after Armstrong's own heart, but, 
unlike the proprietor, was a gentle, scholarly man, disinclined 
to put himself forward among his fellows. He was by conviction 
a free-trader and active in association with the Cleveland Free 
Trade Club. He was also first president of the Cleveland Press 
Club, which survived only a short time. Yet about the office he 
was called " the lone fisherman ** because of a certain aloofness 
which seemed part of his nature. 15 

On his retirement from the staff because of ill health in 1889, 
the Plain Dealer said of Henderson: 

He is a forcible writer and, being well-informed on matters politi- 
cal and general, his contributions were widely read and appreciated. 
His genius shone through all his writings and gave them an indi- 
vidual coloring which was readily recognized by those who were 
familiar with his style. 18 

Regarding another of his associates, Armstrong once recalled: 
* I had as assistant editor at first a queer old chap, an ex-Univer- 
salist preacher, by the name of L. S. Everett, who did good 

13 Roman R. Holden was a brother of Liberty E. Holden. 
January 31, 1886. 

15 Armstrong in the Plain Dealer, August 8, 1889. 

16 January 6. To a later generation the name Henderson of the Plain 
Dealer has meant not Gilbert W. but Gilbert W.'s son, Charles T. Hender- 
son, who came to the paper in 1901, became city editor, dramatic critic, 
and Sunday editor in turn and left about the time America got into the 
World War; a popular figure in Cleveland newspaper circles. 


work, but was slower than a snail and could not be driven out 
of his * ruts/ He was a perfect writing machine. Give him any 
subject and he would go at it slowly and prosily, yet would grind 
out something readable and interesting." In October 1866 he 
had started publication of the Lorain Constitutionalist at Elyria. 
He left the Plain Dealer in January 1869, to take charge of the 
Akron City Times. 

William J. Gleason retired from the Plain Dealer in August 
1882, after twenty-one years in various capacities, the last few 
as circulator. He was one of the incorporators of the Plain Dealer 
Publishing Company and a member of its first board of direc- 
tors. Gleason was the first to suggest the erection of the present 
Soldiers" and Sailors' Monument on the Public Square and was 
chairman of the commission appointed by Governor Joseph B. 
Foraker to carry out the project. He was secretary of Cuyahoga 
County's first Board of Elections, set up in 1886. 

Thomas R. and David S. Whitehead and William J. Gleason 
were among the many Plain Dealer men to enlist for service in 
the Civil War. After the peace all three of them returned to 
the paper and continued with it for many years. Thomas R. 
Whitehead became business manager and was, like Gleason, an 
incorporator and original director of the company organized in 
1877 to publish the Plain Dealer. When " Prof " King's balloon 
ascended from the Public Square in 1874, with the whole down- 
town area packed with people to see the spectacle, Whitehead 
was one of those to wave from the basket as it moved toward the 
lake. The balloon landed in Michigan after a twelve-hour flight. 
Whitehead became clerk of the Board of Education and had the 
distinction of a compliment from the Republican Herald. He 
left the Plain Dealer in 1877 when it became evident that his 
job at school headquarters would require all his time. 

Frederick T. Wallace, Cleveland attorney, writer, traveler, 
and poet, was a frequent contributor to the Plain Dealer in the 
Armstrong days. In the exciting presidential campaign of 1876 
the Leader said he was writing Plain Dealer editorials and was 


paid from a fund furnished by Samuel J. Tilden, Democratic 
candidate. 17 

The story of a newspaper is to be read both in the policies it 
advocates, in the genera! character it maintains in the com- 
munity and in the personalities identified with it from time to 
time. In the period of Armstrong's control of the Plain Dealer, 
the editorial and business staffs of the three leading Cleveland 
papers included many men of character and ability whose serv- 
ices to the community too often went unrecognized. The Plain 
Dealer had its liberal share of them. Many of those then em- 
ployed by the Herald would soon find their way to the payroll 
of the paper which the Herald had fought for forty years. 

17 October 21. 



The Plain Dealer supports Lincoln's views on the war 

amendments. Greeley gives paper a <c dish of crow. 9 ' 

Sorrow with Tilden; triumph with Cleveland. 

THE OVERSHADOWING issues which occupied all newspapers in 
the few years immediately following Armstrong's purchase of 
the Plain Dealer were those involved in Reconstruction. Andrew 
Johnson became President ten days before the new proprietor 
assumed direction of the paper. There began almost at once the 
bitter conflict between Congress and the President which was 
to bring about, as one of its evil fruits, Johnson's impeachment 
and trial. 

The Plain Dealer, as would be supposed, did not hesitate to 
throw its support to the President. The Democratic state con- 
vention had declared: 

The one great question of the day is the immediate and uncondi- 
tional restoration of all the states to the exercise of their rights within 
the federal government, and under the constitution, and (be it re- 
solved that) we will cordially and actively support Andrew Johnson 
as president of the United States in all necessary and proper methods 
to carry out his policy as directed to that end. 

Yet to the Leader the conduct of its Democratic contemporary 
was only a further sign of its moral degeneracy, the logical con- 
tinuation of the Plain Dealer's course before and during the late 



** The degrading copperheadism of the Plain Dealer can l>e 
accounted for," the Leader said soon after Green's to 

the paper, " by the fact that the editor Fred Green was one of 
the * dogs * from Ohio who voted for the repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise in 1854." * 

The Leader's own attitude was indicated by its comment a 
little later that u Lee (Robert E.) and Arnold ( Benedict ] were 
both traitors and both Democrats and therefore equally entitled 
to a place among the Plain Dealer's heroes." 3 And again: ** II 
Wilkes Booth were alive ... we should find the Plain Dealer 
advocating his pardon." * 

This was the political atmosphere in which William W. Arm- 
strong and the Plain Dealer found themselves, as the problems 
of Reconstruction gripped Ohio and the Reserve. 4 The Leader 
had criticized the radical Republican proposal for impeachment 
of the President, 5 but, once the program was decided on, threw 
its support to the purpose of ousting him. The Herald, whose 
editor was postmaster of Cleveland by appointment of Johnson, 
was at first no less outspoken against impeachment. " We are 
satisfied," it said, " that as a measure of policy at least, the great 
majority of the American people are opposed to an attempted 

1 September 30, 1867. The epithet " dog ** was applied by the aboli- 
tionist press to the three Ohioans in Congress who voted for the repeal. 
They were Disney, Olds, and Green, whose initial letters happened to 
spell the word. 

2 January 7, 1871. 

3 December 31, 1868. 

4 Some idea of the intensity of feeling in Cleveland at this period is 
indicated by the oft-told incident of the old Courthouse cornerstone. J. J. 
Husband, the architect who designed the building and had his name cut 
in the stone, was an anti-war Democrat. After Lincoln's murder he made 
some remark to a group of friends which showed he did not share the 
general feeling of horror at the crime. A mob began to gather as soon as 
the incident was whispered about, and Husband had to flee for his life. 
Before the day Lincoln's body lay in state on the Public Square, on its way 
to the final resting place in Illinois, the architect's name was chiseled from 
the Courthouse cornerstone. 

5 January 17, 1867. 


impeachment of our chief magistrate and, should the House of 
Representatives in an evil hour be hurried into such a proceed- 
ing, it will be in violation of the wishes and sober convictions 
of their constituents." 6 

The Plain Dealer alone in the local newspaper field defended 
the President against his detractors and condemned the radical 
Republicans in Congress for their effort to convict him. In fact, 
it is doubtful if there was another prominent editor in the coun- 
try who earlier or more accurately than Armstrong appraised 
the destructive purposes of the radicals of both parties then 
ready to use the distresses of the South for their own personal or 
partisan advantage. Two years before the Johnson impeachment 
the paper had declared: 

Andrew Johnson has refused to become the pliant tool of the 
bloodthirsty radicals he has set his face steadily against the malig- 
nity of that faction who dream of nothing but conquered provinces, 
dead states, confiscation, disfranchisement and Negro suffrage. 7 

Of the President's formal reply to his assailants in Congress 
the Plain Dealer said: "We do not hesitate to say that this 
answer to the frivolous charges trumped up by the impeachers 
is not only candid and evidently truthful, but absolutely un- 
answerable. . . / >s 

Editor-Postmaster Benedict, writing from the capital, now 
confirmed the truth of what Republican papers had been deny- 
ing: that there was in progress a rush of carpetbaggers to Wash- 
ington seeking promises of office from the expected occupant of 
the White House. 9 

Still, on the President's acquittal, the Herald was constrained 
to remark that " the Republican party has done its duty. A few 

* April 27, 1868. 

7 February 20, 1866. 

8 March 24, 1868. 

& Noted by the Plain Dealer on April 27, 1868. The " expected occu- 
pant " was, of course, Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio, president pro tempore 
of the Senate. 


individual Republicans let God Judge their motives have 
disappointed the loyal hearts of the country, and have digged 
their own political graves/" 10 

The manager of the impeachment proceedings was Thaddeus 
Stevens of Pennsylvania. The sharp division of local sentiment 
over the fight on Johnson is well illustrated by the contrasting 
opinions regarding him expressed by the Plain Dealer and the 

In the judgment of the Plain Dealer Stevens was an " old law- 
defying buccaneer." " The Leader held him to be ** the most 
unique, single-hearted and heroic figure of these post-revolu- 
tionary days . . . the noblest statesman, the most irresistible 
debater, the most influential intellect, the foremost friend of 
freedom in the halls of congress/" 12 

Armstrong was a delegate from the Sandusky congressional 
district to the widely advertised convention at Philadelphia, 
called by conservative Republicans and Democrats in the sum- 
mer of 1868 in an attempt to check the radical policies taking 
form at Washington against the South. The Plain Dealer after- 
ward said of the convention: 

Without stopping to state exceptions, it may be said that the con- 
vention as a whole was characterized by wisdom and sagacity and 
that the points embraced in its platform show that it was composed 
of practical men who wisely confined themselves to the living issues 
of today, neither casting an eye needlessly to the rear nor foolishly 
introducing topics that may well be left to the future. . . . 1S 

Three great constitutional amendments were fruit of the 
famous apple tree at Appomattox. The first of them, abolishing 
slavery, was proposed while Lincoln was still alive, and had his 
hearty approval. The other two were submitted after his death. 

*> May 18, 1868. 

11 February 18, 1868. 

12 August 12, 1868. 

13 August 17, 1866. For discussion of the Philadelphia convention, see 
The Age of Hate, by George Fort Milton. 


It is the opinion of Burton J. Hendrick, expressed in his work 
on the Constitution entitled Bulwark of the Republic, that 
Lincoln's " principles, frequently set forth in public speeches, 
would have led him to oppose them both. . . He was opposed 
to Negro suffrage." 

The Plain Dealer made no issue against the Thirteenth 
Amendment to abolish slavery, believing the issue to have been 
settled by the war. " We accept the edict," it said, * as a part of 
the great mystery of this eventful period and shall await with 
solemn hope and not without some anxiety the result it is to 
develop. . . ." 14 

When the Ohio Legislature at the beginning of the 1867 ses- 
sion voted to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, the Plain 
Dealer, though opposed to the policy, did not deem the action 
worthy of editorial comment. This amendment, of course, estab- 
lished Negro citizenship and was generally recognized as the 
forerunner of a grant of suffrage. However, against the third war 
amendment, the Fifteenth conferring suffrage, the paper made 
strong but futile resistance. 

Thus the attitude of the Plain Dealer was identical with that 
which Hendrick believes would have been that of Abraham 
Lincoln had he lived. 

Ohio's own attitude toward the suffrage amendment was 
hesitant and at the time hardly convincing. In May 1868 the 
legislature, perhaps guided by the popular verdict the year be- 
fore against a proposal to confer state suffrage on the Negro, 
voted against ratification of the federal proposal. In January 
two years later it voted to ratify the Fifteenth Amendment, by 
a margin of one vote in each branch. 

The position of the Plain Dealer was one of consistent opposi- 
tion to the granting of Negro suffrage so soon after slavery. After 
the vote of ratification at Columbus, which it argued was illegal 
in view of the previous rejection, it declared: 

14 February 1, 1865. 


Ohio now stands by the action of her legislature in favor of negro 
suffrage, although the people by a majority of over fifty thousand 
declared against it. The responsibility of the adoption of the amend- 
ment rests upon the so-called Hamilton county reform members, 
whose constituents two years ago rejected it by nearly five thousand 
majority. We do not say that these men have been bought up, but 
if the names of some of them do not appear among the list of Gov- 
ernment appointments before their terms expire we will be much 
mistaken. . . . IS 

Before the Fifteenth Amendment was officially made a part 
of the Constitution, the Plain Dealer, perhaps in order to keep 
its own record straight, offered this comment on a fact then all 
but completed: 

We are not shutting our eyes to what is manifestly true, that negro 
equality is a stubborn and practically accomplished fact; neither do 
we say the right is not on the side of the negro; but we desire to show 
that the African has obtained his political recognition through the 
drift of chance circumstance, and not through a revulsion of popular 
feeling in his favor. . . , 16 

Throughout Johnson's difficulties with a Republican Congress 
the Plain Dealer stood energetically with the President. On the 
occasion of his death it ventured the prophetic suggestion that 
" Andrew Johnson's character will improve in the popular esti- 
mation with the advancement of time." 17 

The Ohio Democracy's formal and complete acceptance of 
the results of the war came in the form of a resolution adopted 
by the state convention at the beginning of June 1871. Strange 
as it may seem, the prime mover in the new policy was Clement 
L, Vallandigham, the best friend a rebellious South had had in 
all the North. That Armstrong of the Plain Dealer had a hand in 
the party's change of attitude is clear. 

In a letter Vallandigham sent the Plain Dealer editor, dated 
at Dayton, January 1, 1871, he welcomed the occasion ten days 

15 January 21, 1870. 

16 March 11, 1870. 
July 31, 1875. 


thence for discussing matters with him. " It is full time," he 
wrote, " that we have a general talk and a ^-understanding with 
each other as of yore." In mid-May Vallandigham put through 
the Montgomery County convention a resolution foreshadowing 
one to be adopted the following month by the state convention. 
Between the two conventions the Plain Dealer published an 
editorial which said: 

The Democratic party persistently opposed the reconstruction 
acts, the establishment of military despotism in the South, the sub- 
ordination of the civil to the military power, and have insisted that 
the amendments referred to were effected by force and fraud. It 
seems to us that the Democratic party have done all in their power 
to do on the subject, and should hereafter treat those acts, although 
revolutionary, yet as consummated, and therefore beyond the reach 
of legitimate political controversy. 18 

This was not only a long step away from the Stephenson at- 
titude maintained during most of the period of the war, but it 
pretty accurately foretold what the state convention would de- 
clare when it gathered less than two weeks later. Vallandigham 
was chairman of the resolutions committee and Armstrong was 
a member. The two joined in the majority report which the 
delegates adopted. The resolution said: "We recognize as ac- 
complished facts the three amendments to the constitution, re- 
cently adopted, and regard the same as no longer issues before 
the country." 

So dropped the curtain on the drama of Ohio Democracy's 
opposition to the war. It was Vallandigham's last political ges- 
ture. In a few weeks he was dead. 

Politically, the history of the Plain Dealer during the Arm- 
strong regime was that of a paper pledged in advance to support 
whatever candidates Democratic conventions would name and 
whatever principles they would enunciate. Armstrong was usu- 
ally a delegate; often an influential one. 

The Plain Dealers choice for the 1868 nomination for presi- 

18 May 22, 1871. 


dent as the national convention approached was George H. 
Pendleton of Ohio, who had been the candidate for vice presi- 
dent on the McClellan ticket and later was a United States 
Senator. After the convention, however, the paper was ready 
to acclaim Seymour's nomination "with unfeigned satisfac- 

In 1872 the paper was given the excruciatingly bitter dose of 
having to support for president a man whom it had ridiculed, 
fought in the courts, and generally denounced almost since its 
first appearance thirty years earlier. A convention of Liberal, 
anti-Grant Republicans nominated Horace Greeley for presi- 
dent in May. The Democratic convention met in July. The Plain 
Dealer offered some resistance, but not much, to the general 
move among Democrats to endorse the ticket which the Liberals 
had named. " We do not consider the Democracy committed to 
the action of that [the Cincinnati] convention/* it declared. 20 
But when the Baltimore convention concurred in the Cincinnati 
nominations, the Plain Dealer put everything it had into its 
support of Greeley. 

If 1872 gave the paper its hardest test of party loyalty, the 
succeeding presidential election gave it the severest disappoint- 
ment. Ohio's candidate for the nomination had been Allen G. 
Thurman, but Tilden was accepted as amply qualified for the 
office. All the preliminary signs indicated a Democratic victory 
in November. 

Convinced that their candidate for president had won, Cleve- 
land Democrats threw restraint to the winds on election night 
and the day succeeding. In and around the Plain Dealer Build- 
ing at Seneca and Frankfort Streets they noisily welcomed 
the cheering news. Interminable speeches were extemporized. 
Horns blared and throats grew sore from yelling. Editor Arm- 
strong found little time for work. With his more important asso- 
ciates he was kept busy from morning till twilight and far into 

19 July 9, 1868. 

20 May 4, 1872. 


the second night responding in kind to the wild rejoicing of his 

It was the first time since 1856 that the Plain Dealer had found 
itself on the popular side of a presidential contest, and even 
that earlier victory had turned to Dead Sea fruit when Editor 
Gray found it necessary to break with Buchanan at the cost of 
the only federal office any Plain Dealer proprietor had ever had. 

As events proved, of course, the Tilden celebration was noise 
without substance. Though the Democratic Governor of New 
York had received a quarter-million plurality of the popular 
vote, he lost the presidency through the device of an electoral 
commission set up without constitutional sanction and con- 
trolled from the start by Republicans. 

It was a bitter dose for Democrats everywhere. To Armstrong 
and the Plain Dealer it was a disappointment never quite 

The second day after the election the Plain Dealer printed 
this editorial: 


If the Plain Dealer uncooped its roosters prematurely Wednesday 
we were fully justified by the returns. The Herald and Leader ad- 
mitted that Tilden was elected, and " if " he is not elected we will 
never again take any stock in statements they publish. Hayes is 
elected " if " he has carried all the doubtful states. Tilden is elected 
*' if '* he has carried either Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, Wis- 
consin, Oregon or Nevada! That little " if " stands at this writing like 
a monstrous giant in the way of both parties. We believe, however, 
that Tilden is elected, and will not surrender the hope until the last 
vote is officially counted, 21 

For weeks the result was in doubt, the Democrats stoutly 
claiming the victory. Years later the paper printed an editorial 
under the caption: " The Crime of 1876,~ saying: " If Samuel J. 
Tilden had said the word, he would have had at his back the 
greatest army this country had ever known and the land would 
have been plunged into a civil war that would have placed him 
21 November, 9, 1876. 


in the presidency, to which he had been fairly and honorably 
elected/* 22 

As the campaign of 1880 approached, Democrats widely be- 
lieved that, because of the feeling engendered by the bitterness 
of four years before, they had an excellent chance of electing 
the next president. The Plain Dealer favored the nomination of 
Henry B. Payne of Cleveland, although Allen G. Thurman was 
again considered a possibility. 23 A few years later Armstrong was 
to write that Payne would have won ** had it not been for the 
selfishness and churlishness of friends of the *Old Roman' 
[Thurman] who, if they could not nominate him, would not 
allow any other Ohio Democrat to be honored.*' 2 * 

The year before, the Plain Dealer, in supporting the sugges- 
tion of Payne, had warned the party against the nomination of 
Hancock, since Grant was the probable Republican nominee 
and it would not do to name a general of inferior rank to oppose 
one of Grant's higher rank. 25 

Grant, of course, was not nominated. Payne received eighty- 
one votes on the first ballot at Cincinnati, and then dropped out 
of the contest. Once Hancock was named, the Plain Dealer gave 
him its customary cordial support, though it knew after October, 
Armstrong said afterward, that he had no chance to win. 

The Plain Dealer accepted the result of the election and 
Hancock's defeat with its customary philosophy. The experi- 
ence, even if painful, was at least familiar. 

On the morning after the election, with the cut of an upside- 
down rooster to indicate the party's distress, the editor told the 
sorrowful news of the day before. Dispatches from far and near 
were printed below a single-column headline which ran half- 
way down the first page: 

22 November 14, 1891. 

28 Payne was one of the most prominent of that galaxy of Cleveland 
public men who wrote the city's history of the second half of the last cen- 
tury. He was the city's first clerk and city attorney and a member of each 
branch of Congress in turn. 

2 * January 31, 1886. 25 November 11, 1879. 



Is Still up That Familiar Old Salty 
Rivulet, Dear Friends. 

Secure Your Tickets Early, Brethren, and 

Let Us Away to the Spot Where We 

Have Lingered Lo, These Many Moons. 

To Republicanism: We Acknowl- 
Another Four Years* Lease. 


Is the Query of the Hour and Echo 
Answers "What Are We?" 

This is a Conundrum That has Been Pro- 
pounded to Us for Twenty Long, 
Weary Years, 

But You Can Bet Your Life We 
Don't Give it up Yet. 


We Don't Catch On, Why Once 
Again the Armor Don 

And Sail in With that Determination Born 

of a Consciousness That We 

Are in the Right. 

In Democracy Where There is so 
Much Life There is Always Hope. 


It Might be Well to Wait Until 
the Returns are all in. 

Hancock's Majority Gradually But Surely 

Growing Larger in New 

York City. 

A Possibility of New York, New 
Jersey and Other States After all. 



Toward James A. Garfield, the successful of 

tike men of the Plain Dealer maintained the rela- 

tions. Armstrong wrote that he often dropped Into the to 

chat with the editors; that he was a Plain Dealer subscriber 
almost till the hour he assumed the presidency. The day after 
the Garfield funeral General Hancock came to Armstrong's 
office to pay his respects to this stalwart outpost of Democracy, 
and many Clevelanders came there to greet him. 2e 

The mid-term election of 1882 foreshadowed the long- 
delayed Democratic triumph which put a Democrat in the 
White House for the first time since before the Civil War. Arm- 
strong's love of roosterdorn was for once given complete expres- 
sion. The Plain Dealer announced the general election result 
by a first page completely covered by a single magnificent 
specimen of the barnyard egotist. Expressive of additional ex- 
ultation were twenty-two roosters on the editorial page, twenty- 
three on page 8, and six on page 5. 27 

The Leader loyally chicled its exuberant contemporary for 
making such a " barnyard display "! 

Democrats were generally of the opinion that the Republican 
Party was done for. " Rotten to the very core, it has crumbled 
before the gale of popular opinion and lies in hopeless rain," 
declared the Plain Dealer. 28 

Democrats had swept Ohio in the 1883 elections, assuring the 
naming of an anti-administration senator. Though Pendleton 
was a candidate to succeed himself, the Plain Dealer early de- 
clared for Payne and he was chosen. The Delatoare Herald in- 
sisted that Armstrong had been " totally demoralized and ren- 
dered useless for the future " by his support of this Standard 
Oil attorney. 

The Plain Dealers objections to Pendleton were chiefly that 
he had fathered a civil service measure which the paper called 

26 Plain Dealer, January 31, 1886. 

27 November 8, 1882. 
2S November 8, 1882. 


a ** sham and fraud," and that he had voted to confirm the ap- 
pointment of Stanley Matthews to the United States Supreme 
Court. 29 

Among the first of the papers to recognize the availability of 
Grover Cleveland for the presidential nomination in 1884 was 
the Plain Dealer Nevertheless, as the 1884 campaign ap- 
proached, its first choice was Samuel J. Tilden. In Ohio there 
was still talk of Thurman > but the Plain Dealer said afterward 
that his nomination was recognized as impossible and unwise. 
" He was a state favorite, and nothing more." 31 As for its old 
preference, Payne, he was now ready to step into the Senate 
and " does not wish to be a candidate for president/* S2 

The Plain Dealer's support of Cleveland against Elaine was 
of the usual sort. Its acclamation of the Democratic victory was 
hardly less enthusiastic than had been its acceptance of Tilden's 
supposed triumph eight years earlier. Now there could be no 
doubt. For the first time in nearly thirty years a nominee for 
president supported by the Plain Dealer had actually won. 

It was a thoroughly delightful but unfamiliar position in 
which the Plain Dealer found itself. Two days after the election 
the editor apologized to his readers: " The public will have to 
excuse the brevity of editorials in this paper. The Plain Dealer 
sanctum, the counting room and the streets before the office 
have been crowded since Wednesday a. in. with so many jubi- 
lant Democrats that it has been an utter impossibility to write 
editorials." 8S 

The election of Cleveland indicated, for one thing, that the 
next Cleveland postmaster would be William W. Armstrong. 
The editor could not well ignore that fact. 

Though politics furnished the main newspaper fare from day 
to day, there were plenty of other topics to command attention. 
The Plain Dealer argued for the direct election of president and 

29 January 10, 1883. 82 February 19, 1884. 

80 October 11, 1882. s * November?. 

31 July 14, 1884. 


vice president and the abolition of the electoral college. 34 After 
Hayes had wrested the presidency from Tilden its belief In the 
evil possibilities of the college was intensified* 

As early as 1851 the paper had insisted that the United States 
should clean up Cuba and then annex her. 37 ' With something 
bordering on prophecy it declared in 1873 that unless conditions 
on the island should soon improve, " there is nothing for the 
United States but to adopt energetic measures protecting their 
citizens and defending the national flag. Such a course would 
most likely render a war with Spain inevitable and end in the 
annexation of Cuba," M 

Toward the proposal of President Grant to annex Santo Do- 
mingo, however, the attitude of the paper was different. Here 
it opposed annexation. The Leader said it was because Arm- 
strong objected to adding any new " Negro or hybrid races to 
the population." 37 The Leader itself differed with the president 
on this question. 88 

It is a familiar partisan taunt that the party in power is likely to 
have the most enthusiasm for civil service; that the outs are usu- 
ally strongest in their opposition. Civil service became a sharp 
issue in Congress in the winter and summer of 1882. The elec- 
tions that fall indicated the probability of a Democratic assump- 
tion of power at Washington two years thence. The Plain Dealer 
insisted it favored the principle of the merit system, but it op- 
posed the Pendleton bill which passed the Senate in December. 
It declared that the Republicans, foreseeing a Democratic ad- 
ministration, were scheming to keep their partisans in office. 30 
Years later the Plain Dealer would be known widely as an ardent 
advocate of civil service for the nation, state, and local sub- 

To give the women of America equality at the ballot box 
would, in the opinion of the Plain Dealer of 1869, transform 

84 February 10, 1869. 87 February 6, 1869. 

35 July 25. * 8 December 8, 1870. 

36 November 15. 89 December 24, 1882. 


tlif m into " political swaggerers, with a love of wine, whiskey 
and lager beer," *" On this point, as on many others, Armstrong 
reflected the prejudices of a generation which never dreamed 
that the women of America would, not long after the beginning 
of the next century, assume a full partnership in the conduct of 
their country's democratic institutions. Here, again, the later 
Plain Dealer would conspicuously reverse the position of the 
earlier one. 

Armstrong, however, was maintaining a tradition set by J. W. 
Gray many years before. In 1851 had appeared the following 
serio-comic editorial on a topic then interesting many women 
in Cleveland and elsewhere: 


Imagine a Whig husband and a Democratic wife, a free soil uncle 
and hunker aunt, a liberty party cousin, a colonization nephew, a 
slave-holding niece and three blooming daughters who have gone 
over bodice and bustle to the terrified democracy and for the first 
time in their lives will vote in pink muslin at the next election! Im- 
agine this group gathered around the same table, tea and muffins, 
graced by Mr. Garrison and Abby looking in at the window! How 
long would a well-built house probably stand, thus divided against 
Itself? 41 

Thus Armstrong and his occasional partners and associates 
went on their way, meeting the issues of public policy as they 
arose from month to month. They were often wrong and often 
right. Their percentage of error was probably no higher than 
the average among competitors in a highly competitive industry 
at a highly competitive period in newspaper-making. 

40 Quoted by the Leader, February 22. 

41 February 11. 



Editors discuss a variety of things. A 

a reflection of Us own in the 

columns of its daily 

THE COLUMNS of a newspaper perform, among their other func- 
tions, that of a mirror in which the people of a community see a 
reflection of their own thinking from year to year. On news and 
advertising pages, in particular, appears a reasonably accurate, 
if unwitting, record of the habits and conceits of those to whom 
the paper must appeal for support. 

Editorial columns show the trend of serious thought. The rest 
of the paper tells a story often more significant from the stand- 
point of community development. 

In the hundred years covering the life of the Plain Dealer a 
social, economic, and political revolution has occurred in 
America. Its battle-front has extended to every city, town, and 
village. Its progress has been recorded, among other means, 
through the agency of innumerable small paragraphs of what 
once went under the title of " local intelligence.** 

Items which appear quite insignificant on publication may 
assume a measure of importance to the student in after years. 

Conservationists will never cease mourning the inexcusable 
slaughter of the now extinct passenger pigeon, a species which, 
at the birth of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was so plentiful in 
Ohio that they were peddled from wagons for food at a fraction 


of a cent apiece. Any Clevelander who owned or was able to 
borrow a shotgun could, at the periods of the pigeons" flight, 
merely point the weapon skyward and without taking aim bring 
innumerable birds to earth. 

" The roar of the many million wings," said the Herald and 
Gazette, * 4 sounded at the distance of miles like the heavy surges 
of Erie beating an iron-bound coast." * 

Questions of wages and hours and the conduct of employers 
began early to find voices in the press. " Susan/" a housemaid, 
writes the Herald to protest that, whereas men labored for $1.25 
or even $1.75 a day, she and her kind were compelled to work 
longer hours for from 75 cents to $1.50 a week. The editor agrees 
that the situation is unjust, and foresees a time " when the fine 
lady with all her wealth and fine things will not be able to sit 
quietly at her ease and have her drudgery done for less than 
the cost of her perfumery.** 2 

Four years later newspaper printers went on strike. The pro- 
prietors of the Cleveland papers stood together in resistance to 
demands for higher wages. According to a card printed in all 
the papers, the printers were then working ten hours a day for 
from $8 to $12 a week on the evening papers; men on the morn- 
ing papers sometimes received as much as $15 a week. 8 

Moderate pay was not, however, reserved for those who 
worked with their hands. High-school principals in 1858 drew 
salaries of $1,100 a year. The Plain Dealer said: "If, as we 
suspect, female teachers get less than ordinary domestics, it is 
about time a system so palpably unfair was effectually and for- 
ever knocked in the head." 4 

The Plain Dealer was fearful in 1851 that the city's experi- 
ences touching real-estate values in the depression of a few years 
earlier would be repeated in sorrow: 

1 June 15, 1842. 

2 April 19, 1848. 

8 Plain Dealer, September 4, 1852. 
* July 15. 


Lands one mile east from the court to the city 

limits are now selling at $16 per foot, ordinary 
streets. On Superior street west of the* per is freely 

paid. Lots on Water street range from to per foot Its 

length; Bank street from $50 to Water front lots on River 

vary from $75 to $230 per foot as you approach the of the 

river. Lands on the canal for the first half mile from its sell 

and rent high. At present prices, say an average of $50 per the 

whole city of Cleveland, as now extended, would require the 
gold receipts from California for a year at least to the plat. 5 

A score of years later the paper cautioned the community 
against " high-priced real estate." Unless * 4 present tendencies 
cease, the day will come sooner than many expect when some- 
body will ' hold the bag/ " 6 

The day of the newspaper expert on styles for women was 
still well in the future, but comment on such delicate matters 
was not withheld. The Plain Dealer was more than tolerant of 
the bloomer costume, but the * tilting hoop skirt n met its out- 
spoken denunciation. A ** bloomer ball ** at Akron was described 
as a " goodly sight." 7 

But the " tilting hoop ** was nothing less than a menace to the 
community. For instance: ** The sight of a lady going up Superior 
street yesterday in a high state of * tilting * excitement set us to 
wondering whether female modesty wasn't a mere sham after 
all. And we likewise wondered whether there was anything 
under the sun no matter how immodest that the fair sex 
would shrink from doing, if it was only fashionable.** s 

The question of style, however, was not always one of fem- 
inine morals. During 1885 the Plain Dealer printed a daily 
column on the editorial page written by one who signed himself 
** The Lounger." He was the about-town reporter who wrote 

5 May 29, 1851. 

6 July?, 1873. 

7 June 7, 1851. 

8 March 23, 1866. An advertisement in the Leader (March 8 1865) 
sang the praises of a " new and great invention in hoop skirts the duplex 
elliptical steel spring." 


his impressions and observations of the everyday life of the city. 
He takes a peek into one of the Euclid Avenue stores and 
offers this comment: 

New styles of silk hose for women are gaudy and handsome. They 
are all in bright stripes or bars to suit the make-up of the limbs they 
are to cover. Stripes broad at the top and tapering as they descend 
shape up a heavy limb, while bars make a slender one appear less 
slender. But the prices are astonishing, a good pair of such hose cost- 
ing $7, and a superior pair $15. .. . 

With or without the protection of striped or barred hose, 
ladies' limbs needed some defense against the chills of winter, 
and in 1888 the Plain Dealer urged that street cars be heated. 
The management of the local lines pointed out that they had 
once tried to heat the cars but found no practical stove on the 
market suitable to the purpose. When the experiment was tried 
the stove heated the straw on the floor to the point that it smelled 
offensively. According to the managers, passengers preferred 
the cold to the smell. 10 

But what would the life of an early editor be like if he could 
not worry about community morals? The Herald complained 
that the newly popular plank roads were doing Cleveland a 
disservice by bringing into the city many undesirable characters 
who frequented saloons and other resorts and gave the com- 
munity a bad name. 11 

A reminder of journalism's mendicant days is found in the 
Cleveland Reviews protest against the railroads* reported in- 
tention to abolish free passes. The paper could not see why the 
roads should object to giving editors free transportation, being 
sure they earned all they got. 12 

Street perils in Civil War days were not caused by reckless 
motorists or the crashing of traffic lights, but they seemed none 

8 Septembers, 1885. 

10 January 1. 

11 February 15, 1851. 

12 December 21, 1859. 


the less real to pedestrians. The Plain Dealer protested against 
the frequency of runaways downtown, and suggested arrest for 
owners who left their horses in the streets unhitched. 23 

Fast and furious driving antedated the motor car by thirty 
years at least. Said the Plain Dealer in protest: 

Things in this city appear to have come to such a pass that pedes- 
trians have no rights which Jehus are bound to respect. Scarcely a 
day passes but we hear of some one being run over by a furious 
driver, and an arm or a leg broken. Crossing the street is one of the 
prominent dangers that city flesh is heir to, and timid ladies and 
nervous gentlemen watch at crossings for a chance to cross when no 
teams are in sight. 14 

Neither fast driving, however, nor the Heralds fear for the 
city's morals blinded the editor to the need of more improved 
streets. " Buffalo has 52 miles of paved streets/* the Plain Dealer 
pointed out, while "we have about one mile of paved and 
planked streets and no more." 15 Cleveland's nearest source of 
good paving stone was Buffalo and at fourteen dollars a cord it 
was pretty expensive. 

Anyway, not everyone wanted the streets paved. As late as 
1886 a letter- writer to the Plain Dealer pleaded with the authori- 
ties not to pave Payne Avenue. Some dirt roads were needed, 
he said, where one might drive without " shaking our bones over 
the stones " 16 

Something of the political feeling of the community near the 
beginning of the Civil War is indicated by the advertisement of 
one G. W. Crowell that he was ready to make " all kinds of flags 
except secession ones.'* 17 

About this same time the high cost of living broke into the 
local newspaper columns as a topic of popular concern. " The 
costliest item of table expense now is milk," the Plain Dealer 
points out. " The best butter can be got in the country from 8 to 

13 July 16, 1863. 16 August 3, 1886. 

14 August 7, 1865. 1T Plain Dealer, May 10, 1861, 
* 5 July 17, 1857. 


10 cents per pound, yet we have to pay 5 cents a quart for 
milk/* 1S This seems to the editor " disproportioned," and he sug- 
gests that Cleveland needs a milk depot. 

Though the refining of crude oil was already becoming a 
business vastly important to Cleveland, there was still a good 
deal of mystery surrounding its production. " These oil wells/* 
the editor confessed, " are a phenomena as yet but little under- 
stood. . . . These wells make the most ludicrous noises at times, 
alternately blubbering air or bubbling water, with sounds re- 
sembling a fat man in a fit of nightmare." 19 

The sport menu three quarters of a century ago had limita- 
tions, but included some items not popularly sanctioned today. 
In an advertisement one T. F. Andrews, 104 Seneca Street, an- 
nounced a forthcoming " handicap rat match at the pit," which 
would be open to all dogs under twenty-five pounds in weight. 
" Mr. Andrews has a large lot of fine rats for the occasion." 20 

Another sport, however, was far more popular and continued 
longer in vogue. The Leader called cock fighting next to billiards 
in popular interest. 21 A dozen years later fifty Clevelanders at- 
tended a cock fight between Cleveland and Troy birds in the 
ballroom of the Rockport House and saw the local warriors 
win. 22 This sport, which Andrew Jackson was said to love, lived 
on for years after his death. 

When J. Wilkes Booth played in Cleveland toward the end 
of the Civil War the local critics unitedly praised his acting. It 
was the Plain Dealer's opinion that, " let him but wisely use the 
gifts within his grasp cultivate and develop them and a 
brilliant future must crown him with an enduring halo." 2S Alas 
for editorial prophecy! In eighteen months Booth committed the 
most shocking crime in American history. 

18 October 4, 1861. 

19 Plain Dealer, November 27, 1861. 

20 Plain Dealer, July 13, 1861. 

21 March 21, 1862. 

22 Plain Dealer, January 5, 1875. 
28 Octobers, 1863. 


Present-day readers inclined to condemn publishers for sen- 
sationalism in news-handling may turn back to a particular issue 
of the Plain Dealer not long after the war for purposes of com- 
parison. Of a total news space of about twelve columns on this 
occasion, seven and a half were given to the execution of one 
John W. Hughes in Cleveland, the story of his crime, incidents of 
his life in prison, and examples of his literary labors while 
awaiting the gallows. 24 Modem yellow journalism could scarcely 
have done more, better or worse. 

Pedestrian safety, formerly jeopardized by runaway horses 
and heartless Jehus, was later threatened by the popularity of 
velocipedes. It was considered noteworthy in 1869 that one 
A. N. Piper had ridden his velocipede all the way to East Cleve- 
land and back, the return trip being made without once dis- 
mounting. 25 East Cleveland then extended as near the Public 
Square as the street now called East 55th. 

The editor calls atention to an article in a scientific publication 
describing a newly invented two-seated velocipede, on which 
the lady rode behind on a side-saddle, kicking a single pedal 
to assist the locomotion. 26 

Popular interest in science ranged from transportation to 
illumination. The Plain Dealer loses patience over the repeated 
promises of Thomas A. Edison, who is always about to invent 
some new kind of light, but never does so: "Edison is not 
panning out as extensively as was promised. . . . It requires no 
particular sagacity to see that if he does not * develop * some- 
thing definite soon he will cease to scare folks/" 27 A contrast is 
drawn between Edison and Cleveland's own inventor, Charles 
F. Brush: "Edison is always talking about doing; Brush is al- 
ways doing without talking." 28 

The high state of Cleveland morality, as well as what the 
editors of an earlier generation considered important news, were 

24 February 9, 1866. 27 March 1, 1879. 

25 May 10. 28 March 8, 1882. 

26 Plain Dealer, April 21, 1869. 


reflected in the arrest of three Herald reporters for " forcibly 
taking away w from a Leader man the manuscript of an address 
delivered before a local teachers' convention. The offenders 
were tried for the robbery, but the case was settled out of court. 29 
The conditions of newspaper-making in Cleveland, particu- 
larly those of the publication of a paper which habitually spoke 
for the minority, were comparatively simple. One of the Plain 
Dealer editors visits Buffalo and is deeply impressed by the 
journalistic opulence he observes. He calls on Colonel E. BL 
Butler, editor and proprietor of the Evening News, and on his 
return to Cleveland bursts out: 

Just think of an editor with a telephone ready at hand, with electric 
bells and speaking tubes at his desk, connecting every department of 
a flourishing business and then, not as romance do we write, coming 
to his office in a coupe and wearing a sealskin coat. No such style as 
that prevails in the Forest City. so 

Editorial comprehension was limited by narrow horizons, as 
was that of the reading public. No one, it is safe to say, foresaw 
forty years ago the advent of economic mass production or the 
urban traffic headache of the coming motor age. At least no 
comprehension of either was indicated in this paragraph: 

For all except people with generous incomes the cost of a horseless 
carriage is really prohibitive. As long as an auto costs as much as a 
team of horses with the carriage attached it cannot be expected that 
the craze will grow with any marked degree in rapidity. 31 

Shades of Henry and Edsel Ford! No calling is more hazard- 
ous than that of prophecy reduced to print. 

Ever guardful of the welfare of his community is the editor 
who mans the moral ramparts. Early in the century a bill was 
before the Ohio Legislature to legalize Sunday baseball. With 
or without the legislation, there was a move on foot to play a 
Sunday game in Cleveland and see what happened. Sheriff 

29 Plain Dealer July 9, 1879. 

30 March 6, 1886. 

31 Plain Dealer, July 1, 1901. 


Edwin D. Barry said the game would not be allowed. The Plain 

Sunday baseball is the entering wedge of an ** open Sunday ." Its 
legalization is planned to be followed or accompanied by the legali- 
zation of Sunday poolrooms, and then barrier after barrier would be 
swept away and, instead of the orderly Cleveland Sunday with its 
restful peace, there would soon be the " wide-open ** Sunday of Chi- 
cago and St. Louis. 32 

The comment sounds now a bit stilted and archaic, so great 
has been the change in urban Sunday thought and observance 
in the intervening years. It is hardly to be questioned, however, 
that the opinion expressed was prevalent in Cleveland at that 

It was some years after this before Sunday baseball became 
legal in Ohio. Cleveland survived the invasion without any 
serious loss of civic character. The Plain Dealer became as 
enthusiastic for Sunday games as it had been reluctant to see 
them legalized. 

32 March 11, 1902. 



The proprietor organizes a stock company, but retains 

control The daily Globe. A morning edition 

is established? but soon disappears. 

UNDER the personal ownership of Armstrong, broken only by 
the brief partnerships of Morgan and Green, the Plain Dealer 
came through the Reconstruction period alive and reasonably 
prosperous if not quite unscathed. It had twice moved to more 
commodious and convenient quarters, acquiring new presses 
and other equipment needed to meet the demands of an expand- 
ing business. 

Newspaper circulation reports sixty or seventy years ago 
were notoriously unreliable, whether used by a publisher con- 
cerning his own business or that of a competitor. The day of 
accurately attested figures, now readily obtainable anywhere, 
was still well in the future. Advertising revenue likewise was in 
large measure a matter of claim and challenge. 

Near the beginning of 1875 the Leader declared it had a circu- 
lation of 13,000 and that the Plain Dealer had but l,680. x In 
court, however, the editor of the Plain Dealer swore his circula- 
tion was 2,400. 2 A few months later the Leader boasted its own 
circulation was nearly six times that of the Plain Dealer and 
double that of the Herald* 

1 February 1, 

2 Leader, August 8, 1875. 
* March 23, 1876. 



As for advertising income, figures from the internal revenue 
office showed that for the nine months ending with April 1866 
the Leader received $21,933 the Herald $12,886, and the Plain 
Dealer $8,686. 4 The Plain Dealer did not challenge this report, 
but pointed out that both the other papers had morning and 
evening editions, while it had but one, Armstrong then added: 
" We desire to say that the Plain Dealer does not owe a penny 
it cannot pay on demand, and that it is established on a firm and 
lasting foundation and in due time it is our hope that it will be 
profitable to its proprietors." 5 

The comparison of figures was obviously unfair since at the 
beginning of this nine-month period the "Plain Dealer had been 
less than four months out of the limbo into which Stephenson 
had plunged it. And there was plenty of evidence that, bad as 
the situation had been, it was now fast improving from the 
business-office point of view. 

After the Tilden campaign, which had cost the Plain Dealer 
more than its proprietor could properly afford, it again became 
evident to Armstrong that more money was needed for operat- 
ing the concern than he could himself provide. The partnership 
arrangement, first with Morgan and later with Green, had 
brought some relief, but by 1874 Armstrong was again sole 
owner and any new financing found necessary must be done by 

As early as January 1867 the Cleveland Leader Company had 
been incorporated with an authorized capital of $300,000. 
Edwin Cowles then ceased to become sole proprietor, as Arm- 
strong now was of the Plain Dealer, and took a controlling share 
in the new concern. The Leader had prospered greatly under 
the new arrangement, whether or not the fact of incorporation 
had anything to do with it. 

The example was contagious. In January 1877, following the 
Leader procedure of ten years before, Armstrong and six other 

4 Leader, April 23, 1866. 

5 Quoted by the Leader, May 1, 1866. 


Cleveland men sought incorporation of the Plain Dealer Pub- 
lishing Company, whose business would be * the printing and 
publishing [of] a daily, tri-weekly and weekly newspaper, car- 
rying on the business of job printing, printing and publishing 
books, pamphlets and other documents." The capital proposed 
was $75,000 in hundred-dollar shares. 6 

Pursuant to this action, the articles of incorporation were 
recorded in the office of the secretary of state on February IS, 
1877. Under the charter thus granted, the Plain Dealer has been 
published for sixty-five years. 

The incorporators were W. W. Armstrong, George Hoyt, 
David P. Foster, George Judson, A. P. Winslow, Charles Gordon, 
and (X H. Payne. Armstrong and Hoyt had been newspaper 
associates from the beginning, Foster was in the wholesale 
liquor business, Winslow had recently retired as sheriff of the 
county, Gordon was general manager of the Cleveland Non 
Explosive Lamp Company, Payne was treasurer of the Standard 
Oil Company and a son of Henry B. Payne. Thomas R. White- 
head, W, J. Gleason, J. J. Smith, John C. Roland, and John G. 
Gross were also original subscribers to the stock. Smith was 
president of the Co-Operative Printing Company, a next-door 
neighbor of the Plain Dealer y with which Whitehead, Thomas 
A. Stow, and Gleason had been associated. Roland was an ad- 
vertising solicitor on the Plain Dealer staff. 

Armstrong took 559 shares, assuring him control of the new 
company, and Hoyt was the second heaviest subscriber with 
50. Armstrong became president, Hoyt vice president, and 
Roland secretary. In return for property which Armstrong trans- 
ferred to the corporation he was given these 559 shares of stock 
and * the further additional sum " of $19,100. Stock not taken 
up by subscribers would be applied as part payment on the 
" additional sum.** It was ordered that Armstrong's salary as 

6 The Herald followed the example of its competitors, filing its own 
articles of incorporation on December 14, 1877. Its capital was fixed at 


president should be $2,100 and Hoyt's as vice president $1,500. 
At the beginning of the next year Byron Pope, who had been a 
deputy sheriff under Winslow, was chosen secretary at $1,200 
a year. He became manager of the counting-room in 1877 and 
remained with the paper until 1882, when he resigned to be- 
come again a deputy, this time under Sheriff Edwin Sawyer. 

Near the end of 1881 the capital stock was increased to $100,- 
(XX). The entire amount was then held by Armstrong, Hoyt, 
Pope, Roland, Gleason, and Smith. 

That matters other than business and revenue sometimes 
occupied the time of the board of directors is indicated by a 
resolution adopted in 1879 asking Hoyt " to officially notify all 
the editors that they must be at their desks daily at 8:30 o'clock 
a.m. unless for good and sufficient reason excused, and not leave 
the office until after the paper has gone to press for the second 
edition, excepting only wherein discharging their several duties 
it is necessary for them to go out." 7 

In 1874 the Plain Dealer was sued for libel by Jerome F. 
Young, who had recently come to Cleveland and opened a 
dry-goods store. The store was burglarized and the circum- 
stances appeared to City Editor Cobleigh as suspicious. He 
wrote a story about it which the proprietor of the store did not 
like. " If one is damaged so seriously by undesired publicity, 7 * 
remarked the Plain Dealer, " advertisers ought to see the value 
of helpful publicity." 

The only fact of the situation that seems now worth remem- 
bering is that when the jury brought in a verdict of $2,500 8 
against the paper, the Herald, Leader, Express, Sunday Voice, 
and Saturday Pictorial World united in a chorus of protest that 
the verdict was unfair. Such unanimity of opinion touching the 
welfare of a newspaper competitor was rare enough to be his- 
toric. Later the award was reduced by $1,000. 

The idea of bringing the Plain Dealer into the morning field 

7 April 23. 

8 April 23, 1875, 


arose almost as soon as the evening daily was seen to be a suc- 
cess. In the spring of 1852 appeared this editorial: 


We issue our first number of the new paper this morning. ... It 
is our intention to publish a morning paper, one that shall contain all 
the news up to the hour of going to press and not, as is too often the 
case, call that a " morning paper " which only circulates in the morn- 
ing but is in fact printed in the evening or some ten hours before its 
date. . . . 

The concentration of so many railroads and steamboat lines at 
this place renders a morning edition of this paper necessary in order 
to give our readers all the news and at the earliest practical period. 
Mail boats and cars carrying the mails are arranged to arrive in the 
evening after the daily goes to press and leave next morning before 
said daily is printed, thus making our mail matter one day old be- 
fore delivery to city subscribers and thus two or three days old 
before delivery to country subscribers. 9 

This morning edition was not intended to interfere with the 
evening Plain Dealer. It was designed only for mail subscribers 
and for delivery by carriers. Had this effort succeeded, the 
paper would have got into the morning field two years before 
the advent of the Leader. The Forest City and the True Demo- 
crat were already morning dailies. The Herald waited another 
ten years before adding a morning edition to its long-established 
evening one. But the morning Plain Dealer of 1852 lasted only 
a short time. The community was not ready for it. It believed 
two papers enough at that end of the day. Twenty years later, 
with Armstrong in control, the Plain Dealer again edged into the 
morning field, this time in competition with the Herald and the 
Leader. But this venture, too, was soon abandoned. 

The Democratic candidate for Congress in the Cleveland 
district in 1872 was Selah Chamberlain, builder and capitalist. 
On the announcement of the new morning edition, the Leader 
at once suspected a relationship between the wealth of the 
nominee and the Plain Dealer's fresh enterprise: 

9 May 10. 


The first result of Democratic stratagem in nominating a wealthy 
man for Congress breaks out on the second page of yesterday's Plain 
Dealer. Having been stiffened up financially by a new alliance, the 
Plain Dealer proposes to print a morning edition, so that Ohio can 
have two Democratic morning papers to offset the twenty or more 
Republican dailies now printed in the state. If the Democracy can 
afford to risk the effects of another edition of the Plain Dealer, the 
Republicans have nothing to fear. 10 

The Cincinnati Enquirer was then the only Democratic morn- 
ing paper in Ohio. 

This morning edition of the Plain Dealer, like that of 1852, 
was designed merely to supplement the evening paper. A Plain 
Dealer proprietor again misjudged the situation. The first morn- 
ing edition appeared on September 2. The demand for it * comes 
from many northern Ohio cities/ 7 the editor said. The demand 
apparently fell off, however, for on November 9, f our days after 
the election, the morning issue was discontinued. The evening 
field was found to be best. 

A more pretentious attempt to give Cleveland a morning 
Plain Dealer was made in 1880. This time the evening paper 
was abandoned. The enterprise was lifted bodily into the sunrise 
field. Its advent was announced with a full measure of rhetorical 
confidence, and with no concession to the art of paragraphing: 


We shall begin day after tomorrow the regular issue of a morning 
Plain Dealer. We do not think the event calls for a flourish of trum- 
pets, and shall crack nobody's ears over it; but the change in our 
office economy is so radical that it at least calls for some special re- 
marks. The Plain Dealer has from the date of its original issue been 
an evening paper; and we venture to suggest that the thirty eight 
years of its existence do not indicate that it has entirely failed in that 
sphere. But the evening paper cannot be in the best sense a news- 
paper. In earlier days it could do better in this respect. That was be- 
fore the electric telegraph was perfected, and before the commercial 
and news correspondence of two worlds was flashed under the ocean. 

10 August 28, 1872. 


When the stage coach and the Pony Express were the models of 
travel and news transmission, it made little difference at what hour 
a journal was issued; and even after the advent of large improve- 
ments over these the evening press held its own very well The rush 
of invention and improvement, however, has for some years been 
making the afternoon paper more and more antiquated until it is 
now far from abreast of the times, and can only prosper under ex- 
ceptionally favorable circumstances. It is for this reason that we have 
decided to change our time of issue from evening to morning. Recog- 
nizing the wonderful growth of the daily paper and its constantly 
expanding field we desire that the Plain Dealer shall have as full 
play for its faculties as its contemporaries. We do not mean by this 
that we shall give its readers a duplicate of the giant dailies; but that 
we shall give them the news, domestic and foreign, from every point 
of the compass, and that digestion and judicious compression shall 
make it attractive and readable. In this way the Plain Dealer will 
hope to make up what it may lack in mere bulk. 11 Experience shows 
that a peculiar demand exists for papers of this class. We say peculiar 
demand, because it emanates from that large class of the community 
that has no time to give to the colossal dailies whose triple, quadruple 
and quintuple sheets make the ordinary reader stand aghast unless 
he be a man of limitless leisure. In these rushing days a numerous 
class has no time to devote to such vast magazines of information; 
and it turns gratefully to a paper which gives the spirit of it within 
a smaller compass. The province of the morning Plain Dealer will be 
the supplying of this demand. And, besides, we shall print a clean 
paper. Some men in our day claim to possess the journalistic genius 
in a high degree because they readily float new journals. The dis- 
tinguishing feature of such ventures, in nine cases out of ten, is found 
to be in nastiness. Now it takes no genius or brains or capital to make 
a blackmailing, slanderous journal pay for a time at least. The vile 
traffic that the societies for the suppression of vice are trying to break 
up thrives as do few decent callings. There is a calling peculiar to 
cities the world over we need not name it which always " pays." 
It is possible to reduce " journalism " to the level of that calling, 
which is as profitable in one form as the other the one title cover- 
ing both species of the traffic. From such a rock in the newspaper 
stream we shall earnestly endeavor to steer; and as the Plain Dealer 

11 The morning Plain Dealer had four pages of eight columns; the 
Herald had eight pages of seven columns. 


has kept its bark in clear water for thirty eight years its managers 
have no fears that they cannot continue it in that channel. They hope 
to make it especially attractive as a local paper, and as a purveyor of 
northern Ohio news. 12 

Two months later the editor assured his readers that the morn- 
ing experiment was proving satisfactory: 

The morning Plain Dealer from the date of its first issue has been 
a success; and although we are unable at present to print as large a 
paper as the Cleveland Herald or Cincinnati Enquirer in the terri- 
tory which is immediately tributary to Cleveland we are glad to say 
that our paper is cordially indorsed by the Democracy and hand- 
somely sustained by the public. . . , 13 

But the enthusiasm of May dwindled rapidly as the time of 
the national election approached. It petered out completely 
after Garfield had beaten Hancock for president. What might 
have happened had the Democrat won can only be conjectured. 
The times being what they were in politics, it is possible that 
the prestige of success might have anchored the Plain Dealer 
permanently in the morning field. 

Following the presidential election came this editorial an- 


Now that the campaign is over the Plain Dealer proposes, on 
Monday next, to return to the exclusive field of evening journalism. 
When we began our morning issue, in the spring, we did not con- 
template a permanent thing. We feel that the evening field is pecul- 
iarly our own. The Plain Dealer was started as an afternoon paper, 
and had always been known as such till the * new departure." The 
morning edition has met with a fair measure of success; but we are 
convinced that the old friends and patrons of the Plain Dealer prefer 
that it be published after the original plan. A preference for the 
evening journal is evidently growing in the country at large. With 
the perfection of the means of telegraphic communication the morn- 
ing press loses much of its advantage as a purveyor of news; and as 

12 March 13. 

13 May 25, 1880. 


that is the only advantage it has over its rivals, the latter naturally 
rises in the public estimation. There are many reasons why it should 
be preferred. Only people of more or less leisure can do the morning 
journal justice. The business man can only skim its contents in the 
hurried moments before breakfast He hardly looks at anything but 
the telegraphic headlines and the markets. The only time he has for 
reading the paper in any rational sense is after tea, in the evening, 
when he can sit down in dressing gown and slippers and have three 
or four hours of delightful ease. It is then that he may enjoy and 
profit by the afternoon paper. And why may not the latter supply all 
his needs in the matter of news? The agents of the Associated Press 
have most of the hours of daylight for the collection of their budget; 
and they have so improved in their serving of the evening press that 
very little difference, as we said before, now exists between the two 
issues as to the completeness and volume of their gathering. Then 
there is the large and important body of working men and artisans; 
these members of society are the heartiest and most omniverous 
readers of the daily paper; but they have no time for the morning 
journal. If they read it at all they read it after its news is twelve hours 
old. To the evening journal they can give several hours time; and the 
evening journal is the one they must have. To this class the Plain 
Dealer, as its old self, will largely appeal. Although much better 
able to serve its readers with telegraphic information than formerly, 
the afternoon paper is pre-eminently a local paper, or should be; 
and it is our intention to make the Plain Dealer all that is required 
in this regard. In fact there is no class of society uninterested in a 
well-conducted, live, evening paper. The morning paper plays an 
important role in our social economy, but its mission is soon ended. 
Its relationship to the reading public is of an ephemeral nature, 
while that of the evening press is close and enduring. Compare the 
respective advantages of the two issues and it will be found that the 
evening paper leads. The requests for the return of the Plain Dealer 
to evening journalism have been numerous and earnest, and we are 
convinced that the resumption of our original ways will be hailed 
with satisfaction by the bulk of our present readers. We shall aim to 
enhance the traits which have given the Plain Dealer its individu- 
ality. ... It has been truly said of the evening papers that none 
others have such intelligent readers. This is self -evidently true. The 
morning papers are the railroad eating houses of the literary world, 
so to speak; the evening papers are the snug hostelries where the 
sojourner makes himself at home and digests what he eats. We sus- 


pect that as a rule, where an old established afternoon paper has 
changed into a morning issue it has sooner or later changed back 
again, agreeably to the wishes of its patrons, which are not slow of 
expression. We look with satisfaction upon the Plain Dealer's return 
to its old and well-trodden field, because we believe that the return 
is in response to a general wish of our subscribers. . . .** 

These contrasting statements the one in March and the 
other in November may be interesting chiefly as an illustra- 
tion of how easily Armstrong persuaded himself of what he 
wanted to believe. In March the whole trend of popular thought 
and popular reading habits argued the advantages of the morn- 
ing over the evening newspaper. After the sharp disappointment 
of the November election Armstrong was convinced that, in 
spite of what he had said six months earlier, the evening paper 
really occupied the preferred position in the community. And 
so in the evening field exclusively the Plain Dealer was to re- 
main for another four years and a half. 

For weeks preceding the October state elections the Plain 
Dealer carried under the masthead an offer to bet five thousand 
dollars on the election of Hancock. There were no takers. After 
the October ballots had shown a definite trend toward Garfield, 
the wager was withdrawn; not, it was announced, because the 
party making the offer doubted Hancock's selection, but " for 
other reasons "! 

The venture into the morning field cost the paper, chiefly 
Armstrong, a good many thousand dollars. By mid-October this 
loss must have been foreseen, and there was no wish to add to 
it a lost wager on Hancock. The fact is that after the October 
elections very few people believed that the Democrat could win 
the presidency. 

At the outset of the morning Plain Dealer, the Leader printed 
a dispatch from Columbus saying that Samuel J. Tilden was 
" claimed " to have bought the paper. This, answered Arm- 
strong, was a * cool, premeditated and deliberate lie," 

14 November 6, 1880. 


Two years before this the community saw the birth of the 
Penny Press which, changing its name to the Cleveland Press 
after a few years, was to become one of the outstanding journal- 
istic successes of the time. 15 The Press, a seven-column, four- 
page paper, was founded by Edward W. Scripps and John S. 
Sweeney, cousins, and was destined to be the pre-eminent mem- 
ber of a newspaper league extending into many states. 

All three of the established papers in Cleveland greeted the 
newcomer with scorn. It sold for half the price they did. It 
seemed to violate all the established rules of newspaper-making. 
But it lived to see two of its detractors in their graves and the 
third an appreciative, co-operative neighbor. 

The spring of 1881 saw the Plain Dealer belatedly abandon 
the folio for the quarto form. It was the last of the Cleveland 
papers printed in English to make the change. The folio, it was 
explained, meant a paper of four pages and eight long columns, 
while the quarto called for eight pages, usually with columns 
much shorter, and fewer in number. Colloquially, the folio was 
a * bed-sheet," awkward to handle where elbow room was re- 

The announcement: 


The Plain Dealer has waited a good while before donning the 
quarto style of dress in which it appears today. It is nearly forty years 
old, and during that long period has retained the folio size. Opinions 
have differed as to the respective merits of the two methods of 
make-up. The folio, the old-fashioned, has many friends and many 
old and good papers are its exponents. . . . We are fortified by the 
weight of press opinion. A large number of the more important 
papers are now issued as quartos. . . . The Plain Dealer has as good 
a right to wear smart garments as any of its contemporaries; and it 
purposes not only to wear them but to be worthy of them. 16 

15 The first issue appeared on November 2, 1878. The Penny Press 
became the Press on November 10, 1884. The Press became the Cleveland 
Press on Sept 21, 1889. 

16 May 9, 1881. 


This same year witnessed the launching and the speedy 
wrecking of the third serious attempt by Western Reserve 
Democrats to destroy the Plain Dealer. 

The first grew out of J. W. Gray's fight with Postmaster 
Spencer and Postmaster General Johnson in the fall of 1845. The 
Times, then started, lasted till the winter of 1849. 

The second was a result of Gray's refusal to go with President 
Buchanan on the Lecompton issue. The National Democrat 
lasted two years, beginning in January 1859. 

Now came the third attempt, when Democrats dissatisfied 
with the Plain Dealer launched the Cleveland Globe, a morning 
paper. The Globe lasted only one month, but into these thirty 
days were crowded enough turmoil and recrimination to keep 
the gossips busy for a long time. 

The Palms of Wairen, Ohio, Jefferson and his son S. B., were 
the moving spirits in the Globe's establishment. Echo M. Heis- 
ley, Cleveland lawyer, was identified with it, Arnold Green was 
vice president of the publishing corporation. George H. Pendle- 
ton of Cincinnati, United States Senator and no friend of Arm- 
strong, was a contributor to the enterprise. Charles B. Flood, 
who had edited the National Democrat and since been Colum- 
bus correspondent of the Plain Dealer, returned to edit the 

Brief as the career of the new paper was, the enterprise dis- 
solved in litigation. The younger Palm, it was claimed, refused 
to turn over to Heisley, as treasurer, a hundred-dollar contribu- 
tion from Pendleton. The directors removed both Palms from 
their offices in the company. Green was arrested for extortion, 
but acquitted. The younger Palm locked up the books, and Heis- 
ley and Green filed a replevin to secure them. 

So the courts saw the last of the Globe. It had made not even 
a dent in the Plain Dealer's armor of defense. 

In the midst of the publicity connected with the advent of the 
Globe the Plain Dealer declared that " if the projectors want a 
Democratic daily in Cleveland, let them buy the Plain Dealer, 


here offered for $100,000. Present proprietors are willing to sell 
out on fair terms in order that they may close up business and 
go to Europe." 17 

The Toledo Democrat furnished the text for the epitaph: 

The Cleveland Daily Globe, the organ of the small crowd of po- 
litical disturbers, established with the avowed intention of breaking 
down the old solid reliable Democratic representative paper, the 
Plain Dealer, has gone where it deserved to go. It had a sicldy exist- 
ence of thirty days. It didn't hurt the Plain Dealer, but it no doubt 
hurt the finances of those who embarked in the foolish undertaking. 18 

Whatever real desire Armstrong and his associates had to 
close up business and go to Europe was not then to be fulfilled. 
The end of the Armstrong regime was still more than three years 
in the future. It came at last without blare of trumpets. 

17 July 11, 1881. 

18 Quoted by the Plain Dealer, November 4, 1881. 


The Holden Regime (1885- ) 



The Armstrong group gives way to the Holdens. The assets 

of the city's oldest newspaper are later divided 

with the Leader. Morning, Sunday y 

and evening editions. 

IN an important sense, life for the Cleveland Plain Dealer be- 
gan, not at f orty, but at forty-three! 

The year 1885 marked an important epoch in the story of the 
newspaper which J. W. Gray founded and nurtured for a score 
of years; which W. W. Armstrong brought back to life at the 
end of the Civil War and kept going for another twenty years. 
New capital, new energy, and a new point of view touching a 
paper's obligations to the community and state thus fixed the 
character of the modern Plain Dealer. 

In these hundred years the Plain Dealer has known but three 
ownerships. The estate of Gray continued in possession after his 
death, until the Armstrong purchase in 1865. Armstrong's 
ownership ended when the Holden group took possession at 
the beginning of 1885. Since L. E. Holders death in 1913, his 
estate has continued to own and operate the enterprise. 

Here is a record for which it would be difficult to find a paral- 
lel in the history of metropolitan newspaper-making in America. 
The situation is one conducive to stability of purpose. It con- 
tributes to the creation of traditions in service. It explains, in 
part, why the Plain Dealer has pursued a pretty even course 


through the years, resistant to the wild winds of radicalism and 
equally unresponsive to the temptation to surrender to a fat, 
contented stodginess. 

The year 1884 was one of great Democratic rejoicing. For the 
first time since the war a Democrat was conceded both a popu- 
lar and an electoral plurality for the presidency. But, though the 
Plain Dealer was the recognized Democratic Party organ in 
northern Ohio, all was not well with Armstrong and his evening 
daily. The proprietor was deeply in debt. He had come to Cleve- 
land in the spring of 1865 with a comfortable fortune, acquired 
chiefly from his newspaper enterprise at Tiffin. He had per- 
formed the wonder of resurrecting the Plain Dealer and worked 
faithfully to make it a success. 

The paper was in 1884, admittedly, a success, but in making 
it such Armstrong had stretched his credit to the point of tenu- 
osity. He had doubtless spent some money foolishly, as when 
he established the morning edition in 1880 without assurance 
of adequate support, but his unswerving purpose was always to 
advance the interests of the paper. The business competition of 
the prosperous Leader and the less fortunate Herald was keen 
and their hostility relentless. 

Added to these was the further consideration that Armstrong 
was unable to divorce journalism from partisan political ac- 
tivity, or to see that they should be divorced. He continued to 
make the paper a party organ when his readers were ready for 
a pabulum of different texture. 

Toward the end of 1884 these factors were beginning to 
pinch. The Plain Dealer was not actually up for sale, though it 
was generally known that the property could be bought. Arm- 
strong's financial embarrassment was no secret in the com- 

Again the seat of Seneca County figures in the story of the 
Plain Dealer. William W. Armstrong was editor and proprietor 
of the Seneca Advertiser at Tiffin when Liberty E. Holden, fresh 
from the University of Michigan and Kalamazoo College, went 


"S t 

. 1*3 S 

S. J 

W .'69 | 





Democrats were happy the day after election in 1882, and Editor Armstrong used his biggest 
rooster. Two dozen lesser roosters adorned other pages. " The blow has fallen," the editor de- 
ckred. " The Republican party is in fragments" 


to Tiffin in 1861 as superintendent of the public schools. The 
two men were within a few months of the same age; both were 
Democrats in politics and civic-spirited. Though their back- 
grounds were wholly different, they had much in common. 
They became friends. 

The superintendent preceded the editor to Cleveland by 
three years, going there to complete his law studies. Armstrong, 
of course, went to start the suspended Plain Dealer on the next 
stage of its journey. In the years since they first met in Tiffin, 
L. E. Holden had acquired a fortune in real estate and mining. 
Armstrong had been less successful in a financial way. 

Though Mr. Holden wished to buy and Mr. Armstrong 
wanted to sell the paper, their negotiations, carried on inter- 
mittently, covered more than a year. Both men were good 
bargainers. Finally on December 9, 1884 an agreement was 
reached, a formal contract was signed, and a check for three 
hundfed dollars bound the bargain until the papers could be 

The capital stock of the Plain Dealer Publishing Company 
was $100,000, divided into 1,000 shares of the par value of $100 
each. 1 Armstrong turned over to the new purchaser 817% shares. 
All of the stock owned by J. J. Smith, John C. Roland, and 
W. J. Gleason went to the new owners, who included,, besides 
L. E. Holden, his brother, Roman R. Holden, and his brother- 
in-law, Charles H. Bulkley. For the Armstrong shares surren- 
dered Holden agreed to pay $49,000; of which, however, $30,000 
went to two Cleveland banks to pay off notes held by them 
against Armstrong. Of the remaining $19,000 due Armstrong, 
$7,000 could at Holders discretion be in part in the form of 
stock shares in the Cleveland Driving Park Company and in 
part in four sub-lots in the Bulkley & Holden allotment easterly 
of the city. If these options were exercised, Armstrong's cash 
return for giving up control of the Plain Dealer was $12,000. He 

1 The original capital stock of the company was $75,000. In 1881 it 
was increased to $100,000, and in March 1887 was fixed at $500,000. 


was, however, given an eight-month contract to remain " one 
of the editors " of the paper, provided that he retain possession 
of at least fifty shares of stock. 

This preliminary agreement of December 9 was made bind- 
ing on the 15th. But not until the start of the new year was 
public announcement made of the new ownership. On January 
2 the Plain Dealer printed this statement: 

The majority of the shares of the PLAIN DEALER Publishing Co., 
held for many years by Mr. Armstrong, were sold and transferred 
yesterday to a number of gentlemen who, possessing the ability, ex- 
perience and practical knowledge of the details of the business, pro- 
pose to make the PLAIN DEALER one of the best newspapers of the 
country, and keep it as it has been in the past, one of the influential 
exponents of the principles of the Democratic party. 

While no radical changes will be made for the present, and no 
extravagant promises given for the future, yet the new management 
feel assured that the improvement of the paper, editorially, typo- 
graphically and in enterprise, will be a source of congratulation to 
its thousands of readers, as well as to the publishers. 

It is the intention of the new management to begin the issue of a 
morning edition at an early date, in connection with the evening 

The annual meeting of the stockholders of the PLAIN DEALER Pub- 
lishing Co. was held yesterday, when the following directors were 
elected: L. E. Holden, C. H. Bulkley, G. F. Prescott, R. R. Holden 
and L. H. Prescott At the directors' meeting subsequently the fol- 
lowing officers were elected: 

President, L. E. Holden 

Vice president, C. H. Bulkley 

Secretary, G. F. Prescott 

Treasurer, R. R. Holden 

George F. 2 and L. H. Prescott (father and son) had been 
newspaper men in Utah, connected recently with the Salt Lake 

2 George F. Prescott was horn in Essex County, New York, in 1834. 
He owned or managed papers in his home state and in Leavenworth, 
Kansas, engaged in lumber at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, owned a job printing 
plant at St. Louis, interested himself in mining in Utah. He left the Plain 
Dealer at the beginning of 1893. 


Tribune, and were brought to Cleveland to give the new owner 
personal representation among the active workers on the paper. 
The younger Prescott became telegraph editor. Roman R. Hoi- 
den took the managing editor's desk, supplanting George Hoyt 
Armstrong for the time retained the title of editor-in-chief. The 
experienced Nelson S. Cobleigh remained as city editor and 
Gilbert W. Henderson stayed on as chief editorial writer. 

The Leader assured its readers that its old competitor would 
be ** as stubbornly Democratic in politics as ever." Three weeks 
later the Leader gave its own version of the circumstances be- 
hind the sale: 

Mr. Holden owns a big silver mine somewhere in the Rocky Moun- 
tains and is trying to discover a mode of getting rid of his silver, and 
has hit on the happy idea of going into the newspaper business and 
issuing a morning edition. The Leader wishes him joy. 3 

Much would be heard in the years ahead of the supposed con- 
nection between Mr. Holden's ownership of silver interests in 
the West and his ownership of a newspaper in Cleveland. It was 
for years part of the stock in trade of Holden's enemies in Cleve- 
land. Another Leader opinion was that Mr. Holden intended to 
use the Plain Dealer to further a purpose on his part to become 
governor of Utah, which was then a territory. 4 

One of the articles of the Holden-Armstrong agreement of 
December 9 expressed the understanding that the Plain Dealer 
would have " the privilege under the Associated Press franchise 
to publish a morning edition as well as an evening edition by 
paying one-third of the expenses of said Associated Press re- 
ports charged to the Cleveland members of said association." 

With this in mind, the Plain Dealer said at the beginning of 

The PLAIN DEALER, as soon as it can perfect its arrangements in 
the way of procuring a faster press and better and more modern 
material, will commence the publication of a morning paper which 

3 January 31. 

4 February 15, 1885. 


will include a Sunday edition. One of the officers of the Plain Dealer 
company is now in New York negotiating for a perfecting press. 5 

Both the Leader and the Herald were convinced by now that 
they would soon have new competition in the morning field, so 
long divided between them. The way the expected came about, 
however, made surprising newspaper history in Cleveland. The 
Leader was, indeed, to have new competition a deadly com- 
petition which would in time prove its own complete undoing. 
The Herald, alas, would die on the day the morning Plain Dealer 

The Cleveland Herald was by a wide margin of years the 
city's oldest newspaper. Started as a weekly in 1819, it became 
Cleveland's first daily when it entered the evening field in 1835, 
added a morning edition early in the Civil War, and joined the 
procession of Sunday papers late in the seventies. In politics 
Republican like the Leader, it was unlike the Leader in being 
then a victim of inefficient management. 

Near the end of 1877 A. W. Fairbanks bad sold the Herdd 
to Richard C. Parsons, William Perry Fogg, and E. V. Sinalley. 
Two weeks later the Herald Publishing Company was incorpo- 
rated. Parsons, a former Congressman, was editor and chief 
owner. Smalley dropped out and Fogg wanted to sell. 

Accordingly, Parsons persuaded a group of local moneyed 
men to put some fifty thousand dollars into the enterprise, buy- 
ing out his remaining associate. In this group were J. H. Wade, 
founder of the Western Union; Henry Chisholm, head of the 
Cleveland Rolling Mills; John D. Rockefeller, H. M. Flagler, 
Amasa Stone, S. T. Everett, Dan P. Eels, Elias Sims, and Marcus 
A. Hanna. It would have been difficult to find here or in any 
other city a group of abler men or of men more successful in 
their own particular lines of activity. Several of them were 

They could not save the Herald y however. Parsons soon re- 

5 February?. 


tired. The new management raided the editorial staff of the 
Leader, further embittering the long-standing feud between the 
two Republican papers. Edwin Cowles and his Leader contin- 
ued to prosper in spite of the galaxy of capitalists lined up 
against them. For another five years the battle raged, the Plain 
Dealer being an interested but noncombatant observer. After 
Parsons left, Hanna as managing director carried on the losing 
fight pretty well alone. His wealthy associates became weary of 
it all. Each man of the group was intent on other interests. They 
cared little about the Herald, even if they did happen to own it. 
The situation was ripe for the kind of business deal which early 
in 1885 led to the disappearance of the Herald and a division of 
its assets between the Plain Dealer and the Leader. 

To Charles H. Bulkley is given credit for bringing about the 
result. 6 The Leader afterward declared that the "arrange- 
ments " were " made through a mutual representative, Mr. C. H. 
Bulkley/* That Bulkley acted as an agent, or at least a confidant, 
of L. E. Holden is hardly to be doubted. 

Carr V. Van Anda, telegraph editor of the Herald and later for 
years famed managing editor of the New York Times, wrote 
long after that Hanna was " skilfully maneuvered out of the 
Herald by L. E. Holden. . . . Hanna first learned on a journey 
home from New York that he was no longer in control of the 
Herald. He heard it from Holden who chanced to be a passen- 
ger on the same train, having just completed in New York the 
purchase of the last shares that gave him a majority/' 

The Argus shortlived Cleveland daily, which disappeared 
the next year said the sale of the Herald was on the basis of a 
valuation of $100,000. According to this paper, Bulkley declared 

6 Charles H. Bulkley was a son of Henry G. and Susan E. (Brown) 
Bulkley and a descendant in direct line of Peter Bulkley, first minister 
at Concord, Massachusetts, and donor of the first library to Harvard. He 
was born at Williamstown, Massachusetts, Sept. 26, 1842 and died in 
Cleveland December 29, 1895. His son, Robert J. Bulkley, served Ohio as 
a United States senator from 1931 to 1939. 


he had not yet bought the Hanna stock in the Herald, but hoped 
to get it; already he owned the controlling interest. 7 

Before a joint meeting of directors and stockholders, called 
to hear the proposal from Bulkley, came the question of the 
Plain Dealer's purchase of "the plant, fixtures, etc." of the 
Herald and the transfer of the lease on the Herald Building ** for 
$45,000 on one year's time." 8 The proposal was accepted and 
Bulkley given a one-year note for the amount at seven per cent 
interest. At the same meeting the secretary of the corporation 
was authorized to dispose of the old Plain Dealer plant and lease 
at Seneca and Frankfort Streets. 

While the Plain Dealer was thus taking the physical assets of 
the Herald, together with its advertising contracts, the Leader 
bought its circulation, which, the Leader said, would be " con- 
solidated " with its own. In the succeeding months the contest 
between the victors for the subscribers of the vanquished paper 
was spirited and never quite conclusive. 9 

The last issues of the Herald, morning and evening, appeared 
on Saturday, March 14. On Monday came the new morning 
Plain Dealer, published from the former Herald plant on Bank 
(now West 6th) Street. 10 It used the Herald type and format. 
Except for the editorial opinions expressed and the identifying 
lines at the top of each page, the casual, uncritical reader might 
easily have believed it to be still the old familiar Herald. 

7 March 12, 1885. 

8 When the Herald first occupied this building at the beginning of 
1851, it was hailed as a structure of rare convenience and beauty. " It is," 
said the Herald, " the first stone front business block erected in the city 
and from the universal admiration It excites we presume it will not be the 
last." The Plain Dealer moved out of the building to larger quarters in 

9 The Plain Dealer said, June 22, 1885, that its circulation " ought to 
reach 30,000 before the beginning of the fall campaign/' According to 
Charles E. Kennedy in his book Fifty Years of Cleveland, most of the 
Herald circulation " remained with the Plain Dealer." 

10 " The Plain Dealer has issued its last number from the old build- 
ing on Seneca street." Editorial, March 18, 1885. 


Determined to have a morning and a Sunday edition, the 
Plain Dealer had believed this to be the shortest way to its goal. 
The Leader on its part longed for the scalp of its old-time rival. 
It also wanted the Evening Herald with its Associated Press 
franchise, lest the up and coming Cleveland Press procure it to 
the bedevilment of the Leader's own afternoon paper, the Eve- 
ning News. The Leader now added the name Herald to its own 
title. The Evening News became the News and Herdd, a name 
it carried for twenty years until it abandoned its identity to 
enter the combination which is now the Cleveland News. 

The disappearance of the Herdd attracted wide attention in 
newspaper circles. The Leader, counting on an easy acquisition 
of the Heralds circulation, was disappointed, though for years 
it continued to enjoy a superiority over the Plain Dealer. Practi- 
cally the whole Herald editorial staff came over to the Plain 
Dealer, bringing its Whig-Republican training into this Demo- 
cratic camp. 

In the first issue of the new morning Plain Dealer the editor 
offered his articles of faith: 

We shall publish a first-class Democratic paper and at all times be 
watchful of the rights of man, holding that the man is superior to 
government, and that all government should be for the good of the 
governed. We shall follow as near as we can the principles of De- 
mocracy as enunciated by Jefferson and other great teachers; and we 
shall support the present administration in all measures where it is 
true to Democratic principles; man first, the country second and the 
party third. . . . 

We shall endeavor to make the Plain Dealer the leading paper in 
the state in educational reforms, and in all matters pertaining to art 
and literature and to moral and esthetic culture. While we shall be 
known as a secular paper, we shall hold our columns open to all re- 
ligious truth which leaves the church free and the state independ- 
ent. . . . 

We shall endeavor to discuss all public measures fairly and hon- 
estly, granting to others, as we ask for ourselves, confidence in the 
sincerity of our convictions. . . . 

As the home is the thermometer of civilization, we shall take great 


pains to make the Plain Dealer a home and family paper, under 
whose influence manly purpose, love of labor, of economy, of educa- 
tion and of upright life and the love of country may be fostered. To 
these ends we solicit the good will and the patronage of our fellow 

The Leader was soon complaining that, using the words of the 
Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, the Plain Dealer was " mas- 
querading as a Democrat in Republican disguise. It has all the 
respectability and dullness of the old Herald' 9 u 

Reminiscent of Civil War and Reconstruction days, was the 
Leader's own comment: 

The new Plain Dealer is trying to conduct itself as a very meek 
non-partisan paper with the hope of getting some of the former 
Herald's subscribers. Yet it is the same old unscrupulous Bourbon 
copperhead sheet that it has been during the past twenty-five 
years. . . , 12 

It is not to be doubted that the new owners of the Plain 
Dealer would have established morning and Sunday editions 
before long, regardless of the procurability of the Herald. The 
expansion was due. There was now enough capital behind the 
enterprise to ensure success, given sagacious counsels and 
sound management. The part the Herald played in the drama 
was a useful one, even if unheroic. The time had passed when 
a multiplicity of newspapers in a community could be deemed 
a public blessing. Now the paper which for years before either 
the Plain Dealer or the Leader was born had bravely carried 
the torch of civic enterprise had slipped and fallen in the race. 
Men should and did regret the incident, but there was noth- 
ing that could be done about it. 

Now for the first time the Plain Dealer was ready to chal- 
lenge the long-dominant Leader, asking no odds. The Leader 
to use its own words had at last a foe worthy of its steel. 
Mornings, evenings, and Sundays the two papers met each 

11 Quoted March 19, 1885. 

12 March 25, 1885. 


other in merciless competition. The Leader had the advantage 
of being Republican in a Republican community. It enjoyed 
the momentum of success. The Plain Dealer had the advantage 
of being managed by younger men. The Leader was soon made 
aware of the fact that it must fight and fight hard if it would 
retain the dominance which the genius and character of Ed- 
win Cowles had given it. 

The contracts and physical properties of the Herald were by 
no means the only assets which the skillful bargaining of Bulk- 
ley brought to the Plain Dealer. It brought to the paper also 
men who were already, or would later become, stars of high 
magnitude in the local journalistic firmament. 

Chief among them was J. H. A. Bone, who had been for nearly 
thirty years a member of the Herald editorial staff and the 
paper's editor-in-chief since the death of George A. Benedict 
in 1876. Charles E. Kennedy, advertising manager of the Her- 
ald, was a future manager and editorial director of the Plain 
Dealer. George R. Agate, Herald cashier, would remain with 
the Plain Dealer for many years, acting at various times as busi- 
ness manager, secretary, and treasurer. 

The first three months of 1885 thus marked a major turning 
point in the century's story of the Plain Dealer. Its days of under- 
dog existence would soon pass. A new factor had entered Cleve- 
land's public life. 

The importance of these developments would become in- 
creasingly obvious as the years ahead unfolded the drama of a 
rapidly growing industrial city. 

At forty-three the Plain Dealer of Gray and Armstrong faced 
a rate of growth and a measure of influence which would make 
it outstanding among the newspapers of America. 



The city is hard on the heels of Cincinnati in the race 

for population supremacy. Great business 

expansion in twenty years. 

MIDWAY in the ten-year period of Cleveland's growth as an 
industrial city which James H. Kennedy called the " wonderful 
decade/* the Plain Dealer entered on the third phase of its own 
history. 1 The city of 1885 represented a substantial fulfillment 
of promises. At the same time it offered new pledges of a far 
greater community to follow. 

For a newspaper as passionately devoted to the Democratic 
Party as the Plain Dealer was fifty-seven years ago, the political 
outlook seemed particularly bright. Ten days before the Plain 
Dealer absorbed the major portion of the Herald Grover Cleve- 
land was inaugurated, the first Democrat in the White House 
since before the Civil War. George Hoadley, Democrat, was 
Governor of Ohio. A Cleveland Democrat, Henry B. Payne, a 
lifelong friend of the Plain Dealer,, was in the United States 
Senate. A Democratic legislature was making laws for Ohio. 

1 James H. Kennedy, an older brother of Charles E. Kennedy, was 
successively city editor and news editor of the Leader and managing 
editor of the Herald. He wrote a popular history of Cleveland. He was 
born at Farmington, Ohio, in 1849; died at Pasadena, California, January 
23, 1934. 



Near the end of 1884 the Plain Dealer had said: " The ensu- 
ing year will be one of the most interesting of the century. The 
new deal * will interest everybody. . . " 2 

The mayor of Cleveland in 1885 was George W. Gardner, and 
Gardner's private secretary was William E. Lewis, who had left 
the Plain Dealer editorial staff to take the post at the City Hall 3 
By legislative order the affairs of Cleveland were administered 
by a plan of government outstanding for its cumbersomeness 
even in a city accustomed to the role of guinea pig for political 
experimentation. It was a bicameral system, with a Board of 
Aldermen of twenty-five members and a common council of 
fifty, chosen two from each ward. 

In this same year, however, the Legislature changed the plan 
far enough to reduce the number of aldermen from twenty-five 
to nine. The Leader called it a " ripper " designed to assure 
Democratic control of the city. If that was the purpose, it failed, 
because the 1885 election gave Republicans control at the City 

Not for another decade was Cleveland to overtake Cincin- 
nati in the population tables and become the first city of Ohio. 
But the outcome of the rivalry was already clearly foreseen. 4 
Cleveland was the twelfth American city in size and Cincinnati 
eighth by the federal census of 1880. Ten years previously 

2 December 18, 1884. 

3 Lewis was one of three brothers, all born and schooled in Cleveland, 
who made marks in journalism. Irving J. was city editor of the Plain 
Dealer when William E. began on the same paper as a reporter. The third 
brother, Alfred Henry, became city prosecutor in Cleveland before turn- 
ing attention to literature. The journalistic career of William E. Lewis 
took him to Kansas City, to Chicago, where he became managing editor 
of the Times, to New York, where he became editor of the Morning Tele- 
graph and later president of the publishing company. He died at Great 
Neck, Long Island, October 28, 1924. 

4 The Plain Dealer prophesied on December 31, 1884 that five years 
thence Cleveland would have a larger population than any other city in 
Ohio and would be the largest city on the Great Lakes excepting only 
Chicago. The prediction was not fulfilled. 


Cleveland had been fifteenth and Cincinnati eighth. By 1890 
Cleveland had climbed to tenth, while Cincinnati retained her 
old rank. A longer view of what was happening may be had by 
remembering that in 1840 Cincinnati had been sixth among 
American cities and Cleveland forty-fifth! 

In this " wonderful decade," next to the last of the century, 
Cleveland's rate of growth was 63.20 per cent, against Cincin- 
nati's 16.37. Such speed in expansion is no longer seen among 
American cities. Perhaps its importance was overstressed half 
a century ago. But certainly no picture of Cleveland in the 
middle eighties would be even half-way complete were figures 
touching population growth omitted. 

The Board of Health gave the city a population of 205,446 in 
1885. Publishers of the city directory insisted on the figure 
229,138 and declared the city was growing at the rate of 600 a 
month. The character of the growth had remained fairly con- 
stant through the preceding twenty years. Of the city's total 
population in 1880, 100,737 were of American birth and 59,409 
of foreign birth. The 1890 census was to show 164,258 natives 
to 97,095 foreign-born to compose the population of 261,353'. 
The percentages had remained fairly constant since before the 
Civil War. The spirit of the community was high. 

But population was by no means Cleveland's chief concern in 
1885. Good red ore was pouring down from Lake Superior to 
feed the city's expanding mills. Good black coal was coming in 
vast volume by rail for export up the lakes. A year's receipts of 
coal exceeded a million tons. 

Cleveland oil refineries were contributing liberally to the 
prosperity of the city as well as to that of their owners, chiefly 
the Standard Oil Company. Early in the eighties the annual out- 
put of refined petroleum had reached more than 7,000,000 bar- 
rels. Well before the end of the decade, Ida M. Tarbell was to 
write that John D. Rockefeller " had completed one of the most 
perfect business organizations the world has ever seen, an or- 
ganization which handles practically all of a great natural re- 

CLEVELAND IN 1885 249 

source." What she called the * epidemic of public inquiry w 
came to plague the Standard in 1888. 

Adding to Cleveland's industrial stability and promise at this 
period was a yearly output of barrels exceeding 4,500,000, the 
manufacture of 2,000,000 pounds of tobacco products, $42,000,- 
000 worth of machinery and $12,000,000 in railway equipment 
turned out from the city's scores of manufacturing concerns; the 
handling of 200,000,000 feet of lumber and the processing of 
600 tons of fresh fish caught in Cleveland's front yard. 

There were some two-score prosperous financial institutions 
catering to the welfare of the city. Among them were eight 
national banks and the Society for Savings. 

Such figures explain a good deal. They show, for one thing, 
why the men and women of Cleveland in this " wonderful dec- 
ade " saw a great future for their community, redoubling their 
efforts to make the promise good. 

By annexation of adjacent areas, as well as by business ex- 
pansion and accretion of population, Cleveland had since the 
war continued its forward push. The 1880-90 decade itself saw 
no additional territory taken into the city, but during the pre- 
vious ten-year period the municipal boundary lines had been 
extended east and south. 

The major annexation had been that of East Cleveland. 5 
It moved the city's eastern boundary from what is now East 
55th Street to East 118th Street. This was achieved in October 

A second important addition of territory came at the end of 

5 There have been no less than five municipalities of East Cleveland 
in the history of Cuyahoga County. The first, chartered in 1866, was an- 
nexed to Cleveland in 1872. The second, immediately to the east of the 
other, was chartered soon thereafter but in 1879 was abandoned as a 
village, the territory being absorbed in East Cleveland township. The 
hamlet of East Cleveland was set up in 1890 and became a village five 
years later. This gave way to the City of East Cleveland in 1911. Except 
for the shortlived village of 1879, which was larger in extent, all these 
municipalities following the 1872 annexation covered practically the same 
area now included in the suburban city. 


the next year when a portion of Newburg township was an- 
nexed, pushing Cleveland's southern limits to Garfield Park. 
Three other minor annexations were made in the period just 
before. The city's total area in 1880 had reached 27 square miles. 
By 1941 this figure would be 73.35 square miles. 

Cleveland's expanding area and the process of developing the 
suburbs called for more adequate transportation and horse- 
drawn street cars rattled in slow tempo over many new lines. 
The horses must have pricked up their ears when in July 1884 
America's first electric car was given a trial run on Quincy 
Avenue. It was the thumbs-down sign for every street-car horse 
in the country and promised what in those days was considered 
rapid transit for urban dwellers. 6 

The day of larger units in urban transportation had not yet 
come, and in 1885 there were seven street railway companies 
carrying passengers in Cleveland. They were forerunners of 
the single corporation which would emerge from Tom L. John- 
son's ten-year fight for lower fares. 

The foundations of Cleveland's brief glory as the motor-car 
manufacturing capital of the world were being laid in the mid- 
dle eighties. Alexander Winton, who had come to America a 
penniless young Scot only a few years before, was in Cleveland 
by 1885 and soon began making bicycles. From two wheels to 
four, from leg power to gasoline power, the evolution was rapid. 
By 1893 Winton had a " horseless carriage " that would run. 
He was one of a notable group who turned out Cleveland-built 
cars and gave the city a leadership in that field, which, however, 
was lost to Detroit in 1905. 

Warner & Swasey, destined to play a great part in Cleveland's 
fame and prosperity, was established early in the eighties. Sher- 
win & Williams were incorporated in 1883. Three years before, 

6 When in 1885 the question arose in Chicago as to the adoption of 
electricity for street cars, Mayor Carter Harrison voiced a rather prevalent 
doubt when he declared he did not " want death dashing like a horrid 
monster through our streets." 


the census Bad shown Cleveland as making one sixth of the 
country's total output of paints and varnishes. 

The beginning of the city's great system of parks came in 1882 
when Jeptha H. Wade deeded to the city the tract along Doan 
Brook which has since borne his name. This gift was to be fol- 
lowed by that of Gordon Park eleven years later. Finally, in 
1896, came the presentation of Rockefeller Park, connecting the 
other two and completing the recreation area extending from 
University Circle to the lake. The two men who furnished the 
bulk of the capital for launching the Plain Dealer on the third 
phase of its development, Liberty E. Holden and Charles H. 
Bulkley, were particularly interested in park development. Both 
became members of the park commission set up in 1893. The 
name of the latter is perpetuated and his interest in parks sym- 
bolized in the name of the present Bulkley Boulevard west of 
the river. 

Garfield Monument in Lake View Cemetery was in course of 
construction in 1885, to be dedicated five years later with elab- 
orate ceremonies. The previous year saw the destruction by fire 
of Marcus A. Hannahs Opera House which John A. Ellsler had 
ruined himself in building in 1875. It was immediately recon- 
structed on a more elaborate scale and stood for many years, 
until supplanted by the Hanna Theater on another site. 

Music Hall on Vincent Street (now Avenue) was in its glory, 
bringing the muse uptown from its long sojourn on Bank Street 
(now West 6th) where the old Academy of Music stood for 
several decades before it succumbed to flames in 1892. The 
same fate ultimately brought Music Hall to its end. The Cleve- 
land School of Music was started in 1884 by Alfred Franklin 

Thus the Cleveland of the * wonderful decade " was a com- 
munity of culture and appreciation of the arts, as well as a hum- 
ming industrial center proud of its stacks and its bank balances, 
B. A, Hinsdale, former president of Hiram College, was super- 
intendent of the Cleveland schools from 1882 till 1886 and 


under his direction the system showed great improvement both 
in physical plant and in methods of instruction. In the four years 
the number of pupils grew from 26,990 to 32,814. 

In higher education, too, Cleveland was making advances 
which were of far-reaching importance to the history of this 
section of the country. In 1882 Western Reserve College was 
brought from Hudson to Cleveland and rechristened Adelbert. 7 
It was on its way toward a university status. In 1884 a formal 
charter was granted to Western Reserve University and a no- 
table career in educational leadership began. 

Next-door neighbor to Reserve, Case School of Applied Sci- 
ence was completing its main building in 1885 and before the 
year was ended instruction was begun in the uncompleted struc- 
ture. James D. Cleveland, former associate editor of the Plain 
Dealer, was to serve as president of the Case board during the 
last ten years of his life. 

The year 1885 also saw Cleveland's first woman lawyer ad- 
mitted to the bar. She was Mary P. Spargo, and she succeeded 
in her profession despite the general assumption that practice 
at the bar was no proper calling for a lady. 

In 1883 the voters of Ohio had defeated a prohibition amend- 
ment to the state constitution, after a hard-fought campaign in 
which the women of Cleveland showed a quality of political 
generalship which surprised the male section of the commu- 
nity. To many it may seem a logical observation that, two years 
after the rejection of the amendment, the Cleveland city direc- 
tory recorded 1,418 saloons doing business in a community of 
a few over 200,000 people. 

7 The migration and rechristening of the college grew out of the bene- 
faction of Amasa Stone (1818-83). Stone gave the institution an original 
endowment of $500,000 on condition that it come to Cleveland and take 
the name of his only son, who had lost his life while a student at Yale. 
Stone's other children were Flora, who married Samuel Mather and has 
her name perpetuated in Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve 
University; and Clara L., who became the wife of John Hay, diplomat and 
biographer of Lincoln, 

CLEVELAND IN 1885 253 

The old question of what use should be made of the Public 
Square, discussed from time to time almost from the moment 
the plat was dedicated, arose again in 1885 when a committee 
of the council recommended that a long-needed City Hall be 
erected on one comer of it. Fortunately, the report was tabled. 
Public sentiment was obviously opposed to the project. 

The Public Square remained, what it had been from the be- 
ginning, the center of Cleveland life and in an important sense 
the particular object of her affections. Since the Civil War busi- 
ness had by a slow process worked past the barrier of the Square 
and was by now making its slow but steady progress eastward 
along Euclid and Superior. 

The fact that the Stillman Hotel, opened in 1884, was located 
east of what is now East 9th Street indicated what was taking 
place in the relocation of the city's centers of activity. No less 
significant was the decision of the Stillman's owners, after a fire 
had seriously damaged the hotel in the first year of the new cen- 
tury, to raze the building because rising land values convinced 
them that its site was more valuable for other uses. 

In mid-March 1885 an advertisement in the Leader declared 
that the Hollenden a " new hotel on the European plan * 
would be open for business early in April. The Stillman and the 
Hollenden were the only important hotels east of the Square. 

Though the vista of Euclid Avenue to one looking from the 
corner of the Square was that of a thoroughfare pretty solidly 
lined with business structures, it remained true that the bulk of 
the city's trading, retail and wholesale, was still done either on 
the Square or between it and the river. Business was moving 
steadily eastward, but had not yet got very far. Such houses as 
Hower & Higbee and E. I. Baldwin, Hatch & Co., forerunners 
of famous stores of the years to come, clung to their locations 
west of the Square. James F. Ryder, friend of Artemus Ward 
nearly thirty years before, still maintained his photograph gal- 
lery and his art-goods store on lower Superior. 

The visitor to the Square in 1885 could still admire much of 


its original unspoiled natural beauty. There were trees in pro- 
fusion. In the southeast quarter stood the Perry Monument, 
then just beginning its famous travels, which led in time to a 
site in Gordon Park. An artificial lake and waterfall occupied 
much of the southwest quarter, and were spanned by a rustic 
bridge from which the sons and daughters of the city's next gen- 
eration could look down with admiration on a small model 
steamboat riding the tiny waves below. 

From the bridge, too, one could see an unbroken line of busi- 
ness structures, with their nearly uniform four-story sky-line, 
inclosing the Square on the south and west. The Forest City 
House was there, occupying part of the site of the present Hotel 
Cleveland. Where now stand the Williamson and Cuyahoga 
buildings stood earlier business structures. An earlier Postofflce 
occupied the site of the present Federal Building. Facing the 
Square from across Rockwell Street on the north was the Court- 
house, to which two stories had been added the year before, the 
Old Stone Church and the Wick Building, and a few other struc- 
tures now long since destroyed in the name of progress. 

The physical services for the city's rapidly expanding popu- 
lation required facilities unforeseen but a short time before. The 
year 1885 saw the completion of the Fairmount and the Wood- 
land Hills reservoirs far to the southeast to meet future water 
requirements which new residence and business communities 
made obvious. The opening of these made possible the early 
abandonment of the famous old Kentucky reservoir and the 
turning of its site into a city park, later to be given the name 

Cleveland's increasing commerce by water directed popular 
attention to the need of a harbor of refuge and the federal gov- 
ernment recognized it with generous appropriations. The Plain 
Dealer insisted it had been the first paper to advocate building 
such a harbor, a claim which the Leader and the Herald did 
not hesitate to dispute. Whoever first suggested the idea, it was 
Congressman Richard C. Parsons who directed the effort at 

CLEVELAND IN 1885 255 

Washington to get the money. And Parsons and the Plain 
Dealer, being of opposite parties, were never in these years 
very friendly. 

The western arm of the breakwater was completed in 1883, 
and by 1886 Congress was ready to supply money for the easterly 
arm, which was eventually to reach Gordon Park. 

Cleveland men, Cleveland capital, and Cleveland-made prod- 
ucts were bringing the city fresh renown abroad and fresh 
cause for confidence and satisfaction at home. Charles F. Brush, 
inventor and scientist, was one of the leaders of the commu- 
nity. In the summer of 1876 the Public Square saw a public 
demonstration of his history-making electric arc light. This son 
of Euclid and citizen of Cleveland was in 1881 made a chevalier 
of the French Legion of Honor in recognition of his services 
to society. 

This was the Cleveland of the " wonderful decade/* in the 
midst of which the morning and Sunday Plain Dealer made their 
initial bow; in which the unpretentious little weekly of the Grays 
set itself for the fulfillment of its destiny. Many unaccountable 
things had happened in the world, in the community, and in the 
field of newspaper publication since that far-distant January 
day in 1842 when the brothers from St. Lawrence County of- 
fered their resounding salutatory. 

In a great sense, however, this was the same Cleveland and 
the same Plain Dealer as before. Both had grown in power and 
influence. They had prospered in partnership. They would con- 
tinue to do so. 



Son of a Maine farmer, college professor, attorney, inter- 
ested in mining and real estate, he takes control 
of the Plain Dealer and sees it prosper. 

FOR the second time in its history the Plain Dealer in 1885 found 
itself under the ownership of a man born on a New England 
farm who had come west to share the promise of a newer coun- 
try. For the second time a former school-teacher who had been 
admitted to the bar but did not care to practice law became the 
owner of northern Ohio's Democratic organ and spokesman. 

Liberty Emery Holden, founder of the morning and Sunday 
Plain Dealer, thus far fitted into the pattern set by Joseph Wil- 
liam Gray, whose establishment of the evening edition forty- 
three years before had started the paper on its long career. It 
would be a mistake., however, to press the comparison too far. 
In most respects the two were little alike. 

A family tradition reaching back to the earliest days of the 
American Revolution explains Liberty E. Holden's unusual 
first name. John Holden was one of Massachusetts 7 minutemen, 
a lieutenant of the military force set up by the colony in 1774. 
A baby was expected in the Holden family about the time the 
war really broke out in earnest. John declared that if the little 
stranger proved to be a boy his name should be Liberty, watch- 
word of the patriots. The intention was unassailable, but the 
prudent young mother objected to giving so small and def ense- 



less a person such a militant prefix; besides, it might be a bit dan- 
gerous if events at the front went against the liberty men. 

The more cautious counsel prevailed, and the intended Lib- 
erty was christened Peter. But the confident patriotism of the 
minuteman was finally not to be denied. When Peter in turn be- 
came father of a son, he gave him the name his father had so 
fondly intended for himself. This son was named Liberty. And 
this Liberty was father of Liberty Emery Holden, who bought 
the Plain Dealer at the end of 1884 and all he wanted of the 
Herald a few months later. 

Liberty Emery Holden was proud of his Puritan stock. A 
maternal ancestor, Isaac Stearns, came to Boston in May 1630, 
with Governor Winthrop. A paternal ancestor came four years 
later: This background was woven into the character of Lib- 
erty E. Holden, whose pride of family was a constant incentive 
to his own achievement. 

He was born on a farm at Raymond, Maine, June 20, 1833, the 
oldest of eleven children. This was a day when boys were bound 
to their fathers, and if a son wished to get an education, as did 
the eldest in this family, he was expected to pay for a substitute 
on the farm. 

Though Mr. Holden was later accustomed to look back on the 
days of his boyhood with a sentiment akin to reverence, his dis- 
taste for the hard manual labor of the farm was early manifest. 
In that day there was probably as much money to be made in 
farming as in teaching, but Liberty Holden's mind turned irre- 
sistibly away from the furrow to the path of learning. 

He hungered for education and, in the American way, took 
the steps necessary to acquire it. With this desire for mental 
training was coupled the wish to teach, to become a leader, to 
help open the minds of others to the richness of the intellectual 
life. Once started on this career, Liberty Holden's active mind 
turned toward the setting sun and the opportunities the great 
West offered one who qualified himself to take advantage of 


Combining the work of the farm with a fruitful use of his 
spare hours, and encouraged by his mother, the young man by 
the time he reached his eighteenth birthday was teaching school 
in the neighborhood. The magic of an eager, inquisitive mind 
was already beginning to re-enact the oft-repeated story of 
American youth's triumph over difficulties. 

Significant has been the influence of school-teachers on the 
course of the Plain Dealer. Gray and Holden were teachers. Gil- 
bert W. Henderson, long chief editorial writer, was a teacher. 
Erie C. Hopwood, editor-in-chief in more recent years, was a 
teacher. Russell Weisman, present chief editorial writer, has 
long been a member of the faculty of Western Reserve Univer- 
sity. In a sense, none of these school men ever quite abandoned 
the pedagogical role. 

By the time he was twenty-one Liberty Holden was ready 
to enter Waterville College, now Colby University, in Maine. 
Still supporting himself by teaching, he continued through his 
sophomore year at Waterville and then, still teaching, came to 
the University of Michigan, where he was graduated in 1858 
and was given a master's degree three years later. These three 
years he spent at Kalamazoo College, a branch of the state uni- 
versity, as a professor of rhetoric and English literature. 

Until now, it appears, the young man from Maine had no 
other expectation than that of devoting his life to scholastic pur- 
suits. The role of professor at some agreeable seat of learning 
strongly appealed to his type of mind. He had drawn a curtain 
on New England and the hard physical tasks of his youth. A new 
realm had opened to him the realm of the mind and the culti- 
vated spirit. He would thenceforth dwell contentedly with the 
elect of the ages. 

As has happened in so many individual careers, a woman 
stepped into the picture at this point. The professor became in- 
stead a business man, a capitalist, a newspaper publisher, a civic 
leader in a rapidly growing industrial community. Such a story 
has been told often, differing only in details. 


In this case the young woman was Delia Elizabeth BulHey, 
a daughter of Henry Guerdon Bulkley, who had been a profes- 
sor of mathematics in the East, though at this time he was work- 
ing on an invention for drying lumber. 1 He had come with his 
family to Michigan, rich in its timber resources. His daughter, 
Delia, and his son, Henry, were enrolled at Kalamazoo. She, one 
of the few women students in the college, found herself a pupil 
in some of Holden's classes. Then and there, without trumpets 
or previous notice, Liberty Holden's plan of life was given a 
new direction. 

The professor and his pupil were married at Kalamazoo in 
1860. A year later they moved to Tiffin, Ohio, where the slightly 
larger salary of a superintendent of schools furnished an irre- 
sistible first stepping stone away from the cloistered life. The 
young man had by now begun the study of law and in 1862 
went to Cleveland to finish his legal preparation in the office of 
Judge J, P. Bishop. Though admitted to the practice of law, 
Liberty Holden never took much advantage of the certificate 
the state had given him. His mind was by now turning in other 

This was not Holden's first contact with Cleveland. On his 
way from Maine to enter the university at Ann Arbor, the boat 
which he had taken at Buffalo made a long stop at the mouth 
of the Cuyahoga. Its passengers had opportunity to study the 
little city, its Public Square with its cluster of residences, and its 
business district stretching to the river. The young man was im- 
pressed with the coming importance of the town, but had no 
idea at the moment that he would ever have a part in its history. 

Now the Holdens, still bride and groom, became residents. 
He was licensed to practice law. By 1864 Mrs. Holden's brother, 
Charles H. Bulkley, had come to Clevelandto study law, also in 
Judge Bishop's office. Bulkley, like his brother-in-law, would 

1 Delia Elizabeth Bulkley was horn at Steventown, New York, May 
22, 1838. She married Liberty E. Holden at Kalamazoo, Michigan, Au- 
gust 14, 1860, and died at Pasadena, California, June 25, 1932. 


play a part in the future story of the Plain Dealer. The two men 
were to be associated in business and civic enterprises. 

Liberty Holden was among the first to see the real-estate pos- 
sibilities which lay ready for achievement in East Cleveland. 
That municipality then extended as far west as Willson (now 
East 55th ) Street. In some instances associated with Bulkley, he 
developed allotments and marketed tracts soon to be covered 
with residences. The population pressed eastward. The Holdens 
in time established their home on land now covered by the 
Adelbert College and Case School campuses. 

With capital accumulated in these real-estate operations, Mr. 
Holden in 1873 turned his attention to the Lake Superior ore 
ranges. He had satisfied himself that America stood at the thresh- 
old of an age of steel and sought a part in it by investment in 
iron mines. He later sold his interests for about four times what 
he had paid for them and felt he was doing very well. Most 
people, had they been asked, would have agreed with him. 

But shortly after this another man came on the scene with 
greater scientific acumen than the Cleveland man possessed. 
This man, too, had money to invest. He was Alexander Agassiz, 
who satisfied himself that this was to be an electrical age. He put 
his money into copper mines and in time realized from his in- 
vestment in Calumet Hecla alone probably fifty times that Mr. 
Holden had made from his in iron. 

Experience confirmed Mr. Holden's opinion that more money 
was to be made in mining than in Cleveland real estate, profit- 
able as the latter had proved to be. In 1874 he turned his atten- 
tion to the silver-lead mines in Utah. Supplementing his own 
capital with that provided by friends and associates in Cleve- 
land, he bought a mine known as ** Old Telegraph." For many 
months he poured more money into this property than it ap- 
peared likely he would ever take out of it. 

His co-investors lost heart, refusing to advance any more 
funds to be, as they thought, thrown away in a hopeless ven- 
ture. Mr. Holden's unquenchable optimism, however, kept the 

Founder of the morning and Sunday Plain Dealer 


enterprise alive. Suddenly his faith was justified. He struck ore., 
rich galena ore, carrying as high a percentage of lead and silver 
as had ever been mined in that region. He realized enough from 
this one strike to pay all his indebtedness and leave him a good 
margin of profit. 

Mr. Holden later became the largest stockholder in the Old 
Jordan and South Galena mine which, like the Telegraph, was 
in the famous Bingham Canyon. Bingham did not become fa- 
mous, however, for its lead and silver. Even at this time it was 
known that near by was one mountain largely composed of 
copper-bearing rock, but of such low grade as to be unprofit- 
able for smelting. Years after Mr. Holden had sold his holdings 
in Bingham a process for mining low-grade copper ore was de- 
veloped and the canyon became known as the site of one of the 
world's most famous copper mines, the ** Utah Copper." 

For years the Holdens had divided their time between Cleve- 
land and Utah. By the early eighties, however, he was disposing 
of many of his Western interests and giving practically all his 
time to his possessions and activities in Cleveland. One consid- 
eration was that the schools at Salt Lake City seemed unsatis- 
factory to the parents of a growing family. Cleveland made a 
strong appeal to them both for the advantages it already gave 
and the promises it held out. 

In 1884 Holden built the Hollenden, which, originally in- 
tended as the city's first apartment house, became instead Cleve- 
land's leading commercial hotel. By this time he had become a 
leading figure in the community a scholarly man of business, 
a civic-minded citizen who could always be counted on to help 
sponsor any movement for the city's betterment. 

Just when Mr. Holden's mind first turned to the idea of own- 
ing the Plain Dealer is not recorded. In no sense, however, was 
it a sudden inspiration. An uncle of his, Ezra Holden, owned 
the Philadelphia Courier and from the time Liberty visited his 
family as a young man he was possessed of a desire some day 
to own a newspaper himself. Liberty Holden was past fifty be- 


fore the dream was realized, but it was always a part of his 

As to why he wanted the Plain Dealer, there was one standard 
oft-printed answer, but it was an answer obviously inspired 
by hostility. This was, of course, to the effect that Holden, being 
a silver producer and an advocate of bimetallism, bought the 
paper as a forum from which to advocate a policy that would 
mean much to himself financially. 

The Plain Dealer had argued for bimetallism years before Mr. 
Holden had any interest in the paper. He himself had been a 
bimetallist years before he entered the publishing field. 

It need not be considered improbable that Mr. Holden's inter- 
est in silver influenced his mind toward a vigorous advocacy of 
free silver an advocacy made immeasurably more potent by 
his possession of a successful newspaper of long standing in its 
community. A manufacturer of steel is naturally a high-tariff 
apostle. Rail capitalists just as naturally favor legislation help- 
ful to their industry to themselves. This is neither an apology 
nor a boast. It is an illustration of fact as obvious as daylight. 

Events have proved the fallacy of the arguments for bimetal- 
lism which echoed through the West half a century ago, but 
they have not altered the fact that many thousands of Ameri- 
cans of that day believed heartily and honestly in the doctrine. 
Indeed, for decades after the Civil War it was generally held 
by students of the problem that unless big new sources of gold 
were found, its continued use as the sole currency standard 
would be likely to keep the country in something like an eco- 
nomic rut. By this reasoning, the knock-out argument against 
free silver came not so much from the ballot box in 1896 as from 
the Klondike a few years later. 

Mr. Holden was a man of strong convictions touching any 
issue which appealed to him as important. With school-teacher- 
ish zeal, this ex-professor sought the Plain Dealer as an agency 
for the expounding of principles and policies he believed essen- 
tial to the welfare of the state. Through the pages of a news- 


paper the voice of the teacher and lecturer would be magnified 
a thousandfold. 

And, party interests, currency, and tariff disputation aside, 
Mr. Holden was inspired by a civic zeal which his friends knew 
and the community came gradually to realize. To make Cleve- 
land a better city, to promote activities and institutions which 
would make Clevelanders better citizens these desires lay 
deep in his character. The files of the Plain Dealer, beginning 
in the early days of his ownership, give plenty of evidence of 
his ardor in these respects. Here was a field ready at hand for 
the preacher of civic righteousness with a newspaper in hand to 
broadcast his teaching. 

Besides, Liberty Holden was a bred-in-the-bone Jeffersonian 
Democrat. The local organ of his party was in financial dis- 
tress. He would believe that good government, the welfare of 
the state, required that this or some similar newspaper enter- 
prise be kept alive and prosperous. And he, the former col- 
lege instructor, had the means in hand to give the Plain Dealer 
a new lease of life. 

Down to 1893 Mr. Holden gave the Plain Dealer little per- 
sonal attention. Following Armstrong's retirement in 1886, 
J. H. A. Bone became chief of the editorial force, though for the 
first three years Roman R. Holden had the title of editor-in- 
chief. The year of Chicago's first World's Fair, however, saw a 
decided change in the manner of conducting the paper. 

Now for the first time the principal owner of the paper as- 
sumed its personal direction. At the beginning of the year 
Charles E. Kennedy, who had come to the Plain Dealer from the 
Herald when the latter suspended publication, but had more 
recently been in advertising work in New York, became general 
manager. Bone was now editor-in-chief, but in September his 
conduct of the editorial page displeased Holden and he was 
relegated temporarily to the desk of book reviewer. 

Responsive to Mr. Holders wish, the directors of the paper 
voted to " change the policy of the Plain Dealer editorial page 


and to make all editorials shorter in length and of greater vari- 
ety of subject," and to put " Mr. L. E. Holden and Mr. Charles E. 
Kennedy in charge of editorial work until other arrangements 
are made.* 7 Fortunately, Bone's exile was brief. 

This year saw also the temporary disappearance of the name 
of the Evening Plain Dealer and the establishment in its place 
of the Evening Post. 

More important than any of these changes, however, was Mr. 
Holden's decision to take command. For a time he wrote the 
principal editorials which involved Plain Dealer policy. They 
ranged the whole field of local, state, and national affairs. They 
dealt in particular with topics relating to civic progress. 

For something like five years this new regime continued. Edi- 
torials which Holden did not write were carefully checked by 
him before publication, except when he was away on one of 
his many extended trips, of the course of which he kept Plain 
Dealer readers informed through voluminous travel letters. 
Whether writing editorials or describing as a tourist what he 
thought significant abroad, he remained the ex-teacher with a 
class before him to instruct. 

Kennedy left the Plain Dealer in the summer of 1897 to be- 
come business manager of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His de- 
parture deprived the paper of the services of a man thoroughly 
trained in every department of publication. Mr. Holden felt 
his loss keenly. 

Mr. Holden now began to realize, as he had not realized be- 
fore, that for the successful operation of a newspaper trained 
newspaper men were essential. The Plain Dealer was not mak- 
ing the progress it should. The principal owner was disap- 
pointed and doubtless a good deal puzzled. To his credit be 
it said that, once convinced of what was wrong, he was ready 
to take the necessary corrective step. The fact that the step was 
without precedent caused no hesitation. 

The contract which Holden made in 1898 with Elbert H. 
Baker and Charles E. Kennedy for the management and con- 


trol of the Plain Dealer marked a new epoch in the paper's his- 
tory hardly less important than the Holden purchase itself. It 
gave the enterprise a new impetus toward the goal of its later 

The owner sometimes chafed under the terms of the agree- 
ment. Perhaps he signed away more authority than he realized 
at the moment. He was made to feel occasionally that the mere 
ownership of a newspaper did not, under such a contract, em- 
power him to do as he pleased with it. But if Mr. Holden was 
uneasy at times when he found he could no longer control the 
utterances or dictate the business policies of his own newspaper, 
the greater prosperity which came as a result of the Baker- 
Kennedy arrangement soon reconciled him to the new dispen- 
sation. Instead of continuing a liability, the paper now became 
an asset, increasing in productiveness from year to year. 

For the remaining fourteen years of Mr. Holden's life the 
Plain Dealer was operated under contracts similar to that of 
1898. Relieved of the burdens of personal management of the 
property and assured a continuous substantial revenue, the 
man who had believed that his country's welfare required 
the free coinage of silver came more and more to assume in the 
community the role of elder statesman in the civic sense. 

To thousands of Clevelanders he was a familiar figure 
courtly and gracious, approachable, never too busy with his own 
affairs to be interested in those of his friends or the community. 
A ready speaker, he was in frequent demand for occasions which 
called for the happy word well said. 

Had the satirists of the Cleveland City Club been active then, 
they would have found grist for their mill in Liberty E. Holden. 
He would have liked it, too, for he possessed the too rare faculty 
of enjoying jokes on himself. On one occasion the Nisi Prius 
Club, an organization of Cleveland attorneys, made him the 
object of its sharp-edged satire and Holden had the time of his 
life listening as a special guest of the evening. 

In his personal and family relations he was vibrant and re- 


sponsive, looking for a sunny side to every episode. He carried 
a dauntless optimism into any venture that interested him. 
This led him at times to take chances in business from which 
more timid men would abstain. It stood the Plain Dealer in good 
stead at certain critical periods of its history under his owner- 

Always interested in outdoor recreation and a lover and stu- 
dent of nature, Mr. Holden played an important part in getting 
for the city Gordon, Wade, and Rockefeller Parks. Most of the 
land comprising the last Holden himself bought for the oil mil- 
lionaire and philanthropist. He was influential in bringing the 
Cleveland Museum of Art into existence and was in 1905 presi- 
dent of the building commission responsible for the present 
magnificent structure which looks across the lake at University 
Circle. The Holden gifts of art objects, made by Mrs. Holden, 
comprise one of the museum's outstanding collections. Mr. 
Holden in his will left a sum to the museum to finance lectures 
on outdoor art, and another to care for the paintings. 

Mr. Holden never lost his zeal to promote the better training 
of men and women through education for the opportunities that 
lay all about them. In his own home at Salt Lake he organized 
the Salt Lake Academy and became its first president. In Cleve- 
land he early became a trustee of Adelbert College and was 
one of the founders of the Western Reserve Historical Society. 
He was a religious man who believed in all sincerity that the 
affairs of the world, his own included, were governed by a Provi- 
dence, benign and omnipotent. He loved life both for the good 
things it brought and for the challenging obligations it involved. 

Elected class poet on graduation from Michigan, this man of 
influence and achievement never abandoned the idea that he 
possessed a special gift of poesy. He loved to write verses, some 
of which the Plain Dealer published, and if the critics said they 
had small merit he felt himself under no obligation to agree with 

Being a man of fortune, and Democratic nominations in his 


vicinity not being in much demand, Mr. Holden was often 
" mentioned " for one office or another. According to the gos- 
sips, he was frequently on the point of announcing himself for 
Congress or the governorship. As a matter of fact, however, he 
never aspired to elective office. On one occasion, answering the 
suggestion that he run for the national House, he wrote: 

I deem the crying evil of the time in which we live to be the cor- 
rupt use of money in elections. So great and widespread is the ex- 
pectation for money at elections that scarcely any man of honor with 
money desires or dares to accept nominations for elective offices. 2 

Elective office and personal participation in politics aside, 
however, Mr. Holden welcomed the recognition and the op- 
portunities for service which came to him through appoint- 
ments to non-paying posts. He represented Ohio as a commis- 
sioner both to the Chicago Exposition in 1893 and to the St. 
Louis Exposition of 1904. He was proud of his membership on 
the Cleveland park board, a non-political group to which the 
city owes more than is often acknowledged. He was a delegate- 
at-large from Ohio to the Democratic national conventions in 
1888 and 1896. 

He was often the object of unmeasured abuse, much of it 
pouring from the offices of the Cleveland Leader. The torrent 
reached a high volume after Holden had become a member of 
the park board and began buying land for park and boulevard 
use. That the criticism was born of politics and business compe- 
tition is pretty well indicated by the Leaders tribute of respect 
paid Holden after his death. 3 

Most successful men have been indebted to their wives for 

2 Plain Dealer, August 13, 1892. The man elected to Congress from 
this district that fall was " Chewing Gum " White, a Republican of quite 
ample wealth. 

3 Leader editorial, August 27, 1913: "Mr. Holden ... did much 
to create its [Cleveland's] splendid system of parks and boulevards, and 
he was a leader in promoting art and music, historical research and edu- 
cational development, all for the benefit of the city which he chose for 
his home and the theater of his manifold activities. . . /* 


much of their achievement. This was especially true in the case 
of Liberty Emery Holden. Delia Elizabeth Bulkley was a 
woman of rare intellectual gifts, of keen business sense, of 
stable judgment. On one occasion it was her good sense which 
prevented a sale of the Plain Dealer on terms which in retro- 
spect seem ridiculously inadequate/ She saved the paper for 
its owner in spite of him! 

Liberty E. Holden died at his farm home in Mentor on Au- 
gust 26, 1913, two months past his eightieth birthday. He had 
set up a living trust empowered for twenty-five years after his 
death to direct the fortunes of the Plain Dealer. To this trustee- 
ship he named his wife, Delia Elizabeth, his sons, Albert Fair- 
child and Guerdon Stearns, F. H. Goff, president of the Cleve- 
land Trust Company, and Benjamin P. Bole, Mr. Holders 

The passing of Mr. Holden was recognized by the commu- 
nity and the state as the end of a career in many ways typical 
of the period it covered. His was the familiar story of American 
youth climbing by hard work and early self-denial to recog- 
nized leadership in business and civic enterprise. A curious, 
inquiring mind, which began reaching out for opportunity even 
while the boy was still following the plow in Maine, never lost 
its keenness for discovery. Mr. Holden would have made an 
excellent news reporter, so accurately attuned was his intellect 
to each day's interesting events. 

From near the beginning of the Civil War to within a year of 
the first World War, Liberty E. Holden was continually identi- 
fied with the progress of a rapidly growing industrial city. He 
touched this story of progress at many points. His influence will 
be felt long after those who knew him personally pass from the 

4 This offer was reputedly $400,000. Armstrong had once offered the 
property for $100,000. In the United States Senate in May 1929 George 
W. Norris of Nebraska publicly congratulated the Cleveland Plain Dealer 
for rejecting an offer of the International Paper & Power Co. of $20,000,- 
000 for the paper. 



Baker, tinder a broad-gauged contract with the owners, 

starts the paper on a rapid climb to dominance 

in its jield. Charles E. Kennedy. 

ELBERT HALL BAKER has been aptly designated the Cleveland 
Plain Dealers fourth founder. 

The first was, of course, J. W. Gray, who established the paper 
as a weekly in 1842 and as an evening daily in 1845. The second 
was William W. Armstrong, who re-established it at the end of 
the Civil War after bad management had wrecked it. The third 
was Liberty Emery Holden, who bought the paper at the close 
of 1884, later merged with it the major assets of the Herald, and 
started it on the road to success which it has since followed. 

Baker, the tanner's son, is given a place in the founding group 
because, taking control of the property after it had been steadily 
losing money for years, he gave it new standards, new ideals, a 
new sense of harmony with its times and its community, set for 
it a new goal, and by the force of his own character and ability 
made a new and better Plain Dealer out of the old. 

It detracts nothing from the credit due other builders of the 
Plain Dealer to point out the obvious fact that the paper today, 
finishing its hundredth year, reflects more of the fundamental 
journalistic teaching of Baker than of any of the others. It is a 
Gray-Armstrong-Holden enterprise pursuing the path laid out 
for it by Baker. 



Baker's ancestral background was identical with that of Gray 
and Holden. The family roots of all three were deeply em- 
bedded in the soil of England. The same ship which in 1630 
brought one of Mr. Holders maternal ancestors to America 
brought also a paternal ancestor of Mr. Baker's. Ancestry aside, 
however, Elbert H. Baker was thoroughly a product of the 
northern Ohio environment in which he spent all the years of 
his active business life. 

He was born at Norwalk, fifty miles southwest of Cleveland, 
on July 25, 1854. His parents were Henry and Clara Maria 
(Hall) Baker. His grandfather was Dr. Jeremiah Hall, once 
president of Denison University, from whom the young Baker 
appears to have inherited a high idealism and a moral fiber 
which marked his career from the beginning. When Baker 
was eleven years of age, the family moved to Cleveland, and 
his identification with the city was practically unbroken for the 
remaining sixty-eight years of his life. 

Elbert Baker early learned self-reliance. He had no choice. 
The family budget made no provision for the young man's edu- 
cation. At sixteen he got a job as clerk in a drug store in Kansas 
City, whither the Bakers had moved from Cleveland. By that 
time the boy had had little schooling, but that little was all he 
ever got. He was thenceforth strictly on his own. The culture 
and the well-stocked mind which distinguished him throughout 
a long life were self -acquired. He was a prodigious, understand- 
ing reader and a student of history in the making. 

At nineteen Baker was back in Cleveland, working for a time 
in a hardware store. Four years later he mounted a stool as a 
bookkeeper in the Cleveland Herald office. Then, at twenty- 
three and married, he was embarked, though humbly, on a 
career of more than half a century identified with newspaper- 
making. 1 The Herald had by then passed its halcyon days; in 

1 Mr. Baker married Miss Ida Smith of Cleveland, June 1, 1876. She 
died at La Jolla, California, April 3, 1941, 


less than ten years it was to disappear. From bookkeeping Baker 
soon switched to advertising and undertook the somewhat diffi- 
cult task of persuading local business houses that what the Plain 
Dealer and the Leader were saying of the Herald was not true, 
and that space in its columns was really a bargain at the price 
he asked. 

He must have been measurably successful, for in 1882 the 
Leader found it advisable to entice Baker away from the Her- 
ald at twice his old salary. He became manager of advertising 
and in time one of the directors of the publishing company* 

By 1898 Liberty E. Holden, with the morning, evening, and 
Sunday Plain Dealer on his hands and their monthly deficits to 
wrestle with, was concluding that one thing a newspaper needed 
for success was trained newspaper sense in the front office. He 
had tried to get along without it, had tried personal direction 
of the enterprise, but under the hammering competition of the 
Leader of Edwin Cowles the Plain Dealer was making alto- 
gether too little progress to justify his investment. 

There were two Cleveland men who, Holden had reason to 
believe, were qualified to meet the problem that was worrying 
him. Neither of them was then in the city, Charles E. Kennedy 
being in St. Louis as manager of the Post-Dispatch and Elbert H. 
Baker in New York City as manager of the foreign advertising 
of the same St. Louis paper. 2 Kennedy had been business man- 
ager of the Plain Dealer and enjoyed the confidence of the pa- 
per's owner. Even if Mr. Holden had not personally met Baker, 

2 Charles E. Kennedy was born at West Farmington, Ohio, May 17, 
1856. Schooled at Western Reserve Seminary, he came to Cleveland at 
eighteen and began his newspaper career as a reporter under his brother, 
James H. Kennedy, city editor of the Leader. He joined the Herald in 
1875, became managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1883, 
advertising manager of the Plain Dealer in 1885, its business manager in 
1893, manager of the Post-Dispatch in 1897, co-lessee of the Plain Dealer, 
with Elbert H. Baker, in 1898, editor of the Leader in 1909. This last 
connection was brief. For the rest of his life he was identified with adver- 
tising. He died in Cleveland, June 12, 1929. 


he could not be ignorant of his capabilities. Baker had proved 
he could sell advertising, and advertising was what the Plain 
Dealer particularly needed now. He and Kennedy were friends 
and former associates. 

Thus the contract of 1898 was entered into between Liberty 
E. Holden, as chief owner of the Plain Dealer on the one hand, 
and Baker and Kennedy jointly on the other. It was a profit- 
sharing arrangement under which the two lessees were to oper- 
ate the property, practically as if it were their own. It would 
pay the two men liberally if they succeeded in bringing the 
paper into big money. To share profits, however, profits must 
be made. To outsiders particularly to the Leader it looked 
like a gamble; to Baker and Kennedy it appealed as an oppor- 
tunity. 3 The contract itself was without precedent in the news- 
paper field. It set terms for the publication of the paper which 
continued but little changed until some years after Mr. Hoi- 
den's death. 

From 1898 till the end of 1906 the Baker-Kennedy copartner- 
ship under the lease continued, Baker taking the business and 
Kennedy the editorial management of the paper. Kennedy with- 
drew from the arrangement at the close of 1906, though the 
contract had some months still to run, surrendering his interest 
in it for twenty-five thousand dollars paid him by the Plain 
Dealer Publishing Company. On its face this was a voluntary 
withdrawal on Kennedy's part, but Kennedy himself made it 
plain to everyone that in fact he had been forced out. 

He blamed Albert Fairchild Holden, eldest son of Liberty, 
for the break. " A. F.," according to Kennedy, had no concep- 
tion of what a newspaper should be, was ambitious to own the 
Plain Dealer himself some day, was inclined to meddle with 
Kennedy's prerogatives as editorial manager, and, finding Ken- 

8 The Leader printed a slurring news story of the lease, May 5, 1898. 
" It is a well-known fact that the Plain Dealer has never paid expenses. 
. . . Mr. Holden . . . does not wish to carry the increased burdens and 
worry of an unprofitable newspaper." 


nedy resistant, resolved to get rid of him. The son's influence 
with his father was unquestionably strong. 

It would be quite profitless now to attempt an opinion as to 
the justice of Kennedy's complaint. When Kennedy left the 
Plain Dealer in 1897 to go to the Post-Dispatch, Liberty Holden 
had been most cordial in his expressions of esteem. Whether 
Kennedy was justified or not in his condemnation of the Hoi- 
dens for dropping him as a co-pilot, he unveiled his bitterness 
for public inspection when, on becoming editor of the Leader 
in 1909, he turned its editorial batteries against the Plain Dealer 
and the Holdens in one attack after another. 4 

The reasonable explanation seems to be that the Holdens 
early perceived that the more dynamic member of the Baker- 
Kennedy partnership was Baker, and that for the purposes of 
the Holdens Kennedy was not essential. ** As I have told you 
many times/' A. F. wrote to his father in December 1899, " Mr. 
Baker is the brainiest man in your employ." This was in the 
second year of the Baker-Kennedy contract. It is, perhaps, not 
surprising that seven years later, when the contract was near- 
ing expiration, the owner of the paper chose to deal thereafter 
with Baker alone. 

It must not be assumed from this that Mr. Kennedy's contri- 
bution to the fast-climbing Plain Dealer was unimportant. It 
was, in fact, quite the opposite. Kennedy was editorial manager 
of the paper when it took two steps in the development of edi- 
torial policy of much future significance. In 1900 it refused to 
support Bryan for president, smashing a precedent as old as the 

4 See Leader editorials of November 3, 4, and 5, 1909, for instance. 
" Organ of indecency " and " journalistic bootlick " were among the ex- 
pletives which the paper now employing Kennedy hurled at the paper 
which he formerly managed. In his Fifty Years of Cleveland Mr. Kennedy 
denies that he was editor of the Leader and says the Plain Dealer gave him 
the title out of malice. The Cleveland city directory of 1909, however, 
calls him " editor-in-chief of the Cleveland Leader." The Leaders own 
masthead printed his name as that of a co-publisher of the paper, hi 
associates being N. C, Wright and H* $ Th^lheiraer, 


Plain Dealer itself. 5 It made peace with Tom L. Johnson in 
1901, laying the groundwork for an association to last as long 
as the great mayor lived. 

Whether Kennedy or Baker was primarily responsible for 
these steps, there is no record to show. Kennedy at least bore 
the editorial title at the time. It may be taken for granted that 
both men agreed on any important policy, whichever mentioned 
it first. 

Certainly it was Baker, not Kennedy, who bore the brunt of 
the first efforts to get the Plain Dealer off dead center in the last 
years of the century. His was the broader vision, the longer look 
ahead. He had such faith in the future of the paper that when in 
1899 the owner wished to sell, Baker resisted the proposal 
though Kennedy favored it. Baker, better than Kennedy, real- 
ized the advantage that would come to all of them if a consider- 
able portion of its revenue were regularly " plowed back " into 
the enterprise. This policy cost the lessees money at the mo- 
ment; it would bring them greater profits in the years ahead. 

Beginning on the first day of 1907 Elbert H. Baker was 
general manager of the Plain Dealer. He was, in truth, editor- 
in-chief though he chose not to take the title. He was publisher. 
He was the Plain Dealer. 

As business head of the paper in 1898 it had been his first task 
to squeeze the water out of its circulation and adopt the policy, 
then rare among newspapers, of telling the exact truth about 
volume of business, even if the truth hurt. 6 And in this case the 
truth did hurt. It hurt so much that Baker found much of his 
time in the early days of the first contract occupied by the task 

5 Bryan in 1900 was the first Democratic candidate for president the 
Plain Dealer refused to support. Willkie in 1940 was the first Republican 
candidate for the office it had ever supported. 

6 Mr. Baker explained to the writer that just before he assumed the 
business management of the paper his predecessor had broadcast a state- 
ment which claimed a circulation at least twice what the facts justified. 
Mr. Baker at once issued a new statement representing the situation ex- 
actly as it was. 


of persuading advertisers that, from their own point of view, 
truth-telling about circulation was better than the policy of 
padded figures they had long been familiar with. In this the 
Baker point of view would in the not distant future be univer- 
sally accepted in newspaper and advertising circles. 7 

The community responded to the new Baker philosophy. The 
Herald was gone and the Leader was heading into evil days. 
Cleveland was willing to forget that the Plain Dealer was 
Democratic in a normally Republican environment, in view 
of its obvious purpose to give the city a real metropolitan news- 

For years prior to Baker's coming the paper's receipts and 
expenditures had run along with practically no variation, the 
expenditures regularly exceeding the income. In his first year 
Baker increased receipts by $62,000, in his second year by 
another $87,000 and in his third by still another $120,000. 

So went the story of the Baker management. Each year a con- 
siderable portion of the income went back into the enterprise. 
When the price of print paper rose suddenly to a point which 
threatened the Plain Dealers whole margin of profit, and the 
Leader refused to accept Baker's suggestion that the sale price 
of the two papers be increased, the Plain Dealers new manager 
took a step characteristic of him. Instead of curtailing expendi- 
tures to meet the new $40,000 a year drain, he went out and 
added another $25,000 to it! 

In other words, he contracted for a loop from the Chicago 
Daily News New York leased wire. It was Cleveland's first taste 
of leased wire service in news-gathering. The city took to it at 
once. Not only did Baker that year make the additional $65,000 

7 This policy of truth about circulation established by Baker led to the 
organization of the Association of American Advertisers (1899), which 
was later merged with the Audit Bureau of Circulations (1914). The 
latter was established "to take the guess-work out of the purchase of 
space for advertising in publications," to use its own words. Advertisers in 
newspapers today know what they are buying. Prior to Baker's advent as 
business manager of the Plain Dealer they had no way of knowing. 


necessary to meet these two items of expense, but he turned 
in a comfortable profit on top of it, 

The Leader's overconfidence in these first years played accu- 
rately into Baker's hands. The paper Cowles built had so long 
dominated the local field, seeing the failure of one device after 
another to bring the Plain Dealer into a commanding position, 
that when Baker and Kennedy took over the management the 
Leaders manager, Eugene H. Perdue, merely continued to scoff. 
Let these young hotspurs ride to their doom! He could not be 

This was the Leader's error, and Baker's opportunity. By the 
time the Republican organ woke up, its competitor had acquired 
such momentum that it could not be stopped. The Plain Dealer's 
complete victory was still some years in the future, but the 
course and the outcome of the battle were already set. 

Thus the passing of Kennedy from the picture meant little 
to the enterprise. Baker pushed forward as before. Increasingly 
as the years passed, the paper became a reflection of the char- 
acter of its fourth founder. 

It would, of course, be idle to insist that Elbert Baker origi- 
nated such a policy as that of excluding editorial opinion from 
the news columns, but certainly he did breathe new life into 
the policy, putting to shame those who were giving it mere lip 
service. It was part of Baker's newspaper religion that news 
should be without color of editorial bias; that one's opponents 
should have the same adequate representation on die news 
pages as one's friends; that a newspaper's primary obligation 
was to report the news as it occurred, be it favorable or unfavor- 
able to causes the paper might support in its editorial columns. 

Readers familiar with the now universal insistence on a pub- 
lisher's keeping his prejudices out of his news reports are likely 
to forget how recently and generally the offense was commit- 
ted on the one hand and tolerated on the other. In Baker's early 
days with the Plain Dealer the only other outstanding news- 
paper publisher insisting on his standard in this respect was 


Adolph Ochs with the New York Times he had acquired two 
years before Baker became business manager of the Plain 

These two men the Westerner running a Western paper 
and the transplanted Westerner operating in the heart of the 
East saw and were true to the same vision. News is fact; edi- 
torials are opinions based on fact. The publisher may, if he 
chooses, argue bizarre theories and tax the reader's credulity 
to the limit of patience, but he shall not, must not, let these 
opinions poison his news. 

Baker sensed the new day in this, as he did in other aspects 
of newspaper publishing. He put into operation a policy which 
predecessors on this and other papers had talked about but did 
little to make effective. Years before, the Plain Dealer had given 
voice to the same idea. 8 It remained for Baker to achieve the 
revolution. He made an effective principle of what to others had 
been merely a talking point. 

Busy as he was building the new Plain Dealer, Baker found 
time for a multitude of outside duties, civic, business, religious, 
charitable. The best-remembered achievement in this field was 
in devising the formula which thirty years ago brought a ten- 
year traction war to a satisfactory end. As chairman of a Cham- 
ber of Commerce committee he devised and got state legislative 
sanction for the street-numbering system, unchanged since its 
inauguration in 1905. Again he was instrumental in breaking a 
deadlock between the city and the East Ohio Gas Company, on 
the expiration of a franchise in 1913. 

After the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, which the Plain 
Dealer advocated, Baker was influential in the group which per- 
suaded the government to make Cleveland the capital of the 
fourth district. When it came time to name a governor for the 
Cleveland federal bank a tacit offer came from Washington, 

8 See editorial of May 11, 1886: the Plain Dealer " does not filter the 
news through a sieve of its own prejudices/' It reserves " opinion to the 
editorial page." 


through tlie Plain Dealers staff correspondent, Ben F. Allen, 
to name Baker to the office. His answer was a prompt declina- 
tion to have his name considered. 

Following the re-election of Woodrow Wilson in 1916, the 
Plain Dealer having twice heartily supported him for the office, 
the President asked Allen to find out whether Baker would care 
to accept a diplomatic appointment. Again he expressed his ap- 
preciation of the President's thought, but declined. To Baker 
the biggest and most important job in the world, so far as he 
was concerned, was to direct the Plain Dealer. He did not be- 
lieve that a newspaper man in public office could render suit- 
able service to the office and to his newspaper at the same time. 
He must choose one or the other. Baker had no hesitation as to 
which he would serve. 

Baker was one of the first to urge the adoption of the Cleve- 
land Group Plan. Architect Frank E. Cudell brought the idea to 
the publisher soon after he and Kennedy had taken control of 
the Plain Dealer. Cudell had been making a study of architec- 
tural grouping of public buildings in European cities and be- 
lieved his own city might profit by emulation. Baker took the 
suggestion to Tom L. Johnson. The mayor at first was not much 
interested, but persistent advocacy by Baker and others finally 
converted him, and he became its most effective sponsor. 

It was habitual with Elbert Baker to analyze problems in 
their broadest perspective. Always he sought the answer which 
would seem sound and convincing not only at the moment, but 
next year, or decades hence. He invariably made this approach 
to an important question, whether it concerned a public issue 
or a matter pertaining to Plain Dealer development. As he saw 
it, the two could not be separated, so seriously did he take his 
responsibility to the public as a newspaper publisher. 

When it became necessary for the Plain Dealer to provide it- 
self larger quarters, a question arose in the inner counsels as 
to whether the building at Superior Avenue and East 6th Street 
should be expanded or the site and structure sold and an entirely 


new building erected elsewhere. One opinion, strongly urged, 
was that the paper should build somewhere beside a railroad 
line, where cheaper land could be found, a less expensive type 
of structure would be feasible, and a great saving effected in 
haulage and other items. 

Mr. Baker took the opposite view. He believed a paper like 
the Plain Dealer should have its habitation in the heart of the 
community it served; that its home should be in architectural 
harmony with its neighbors and be of such prominence that 
citizens would point to it with pride as evidence of the institu- 
tion's permanence among them. He would as soon see the Cleve- 
land Public Library in the Flats on a bend in the river as see the 
Cleveland Plain Dealer nestled in a railroad yard. 

Happily, the Baker opinion was accepted. The then existing 
building was greatly enlarged. It stands today at a corner of the 
Group Plan, architecturally in keeping with its classic neigh- 

Another facet of Mr. Baker's character is illustrated by a 
routine incident. Lewis B. Williams, financial editor, 9 came into 
the office one afternoon with the makings of a big story. The 
Everett-Moore Syndicate, interurban traction operators, would 
not be able to meet its interest payments due the next day. It 
was an exclusive story, Williams said. It would cause a sensa- 
tion. It might start a panic. 

Baker told Williams not to write the story. Instead, he got into 
immediate touch with a leading banker familiar with the facts 
and told him he would undertake to persuade the other papers 
not to print the explosive item of news, provided members of 
the syndicate would assign every cent of personal property 
and every asset they possessed toward meeting the claims of the 
creditors, and provided further that a strong committee of bank- 
ers be named to handle the delicate situation. The problem was 
ironed out on exactly these terms. The announcement of the 

9 Mr. Williams is at this writing chairman of the board of the National 
City Bank of Cleveland. 


failure, made in due time, carried with it the details of how the 
situation would be handled. 

This was a typical Baker performance. He realized, what some 
publishers never seem to appreciate, that a newspaper cannot 
thrive on the distresses of its community. He promoted the wel- 
fare of the Plain Dealer by guarding carefully that of the city 
which supported it. 

These qualities of character and the success they brought the 
paper gave Mr. Baker an ever wider recognition. He was a di- 
rector of the American Newspaper Publishers Association from 
1904 to 1924, and from 1912 to 1914 its president. He became a 
director of the Associated Press in 1916 and was soon a mem- 
ber of the executive committee. 

In Cleveland he was long treasurer of the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Association and one of the strongest boosters of the organ- 
ization. This service was formally recognized in 1934 when 
* The Elbert H. Baker Fellowship Hall " was dedicated in the 
main building at Prospect Avenue and East 22nd Street. The 
Euclid Avenue Congregational Church, which he long served 
as a trustee, was also an object of his particular loyalty. He was 
regularly a team captain in the annual solicitation for Cleve- 
land's great Community Fund, a member of the national war 
work council beginning with its inauguration in 1917. With all 
his manifold activities in various fields, he still found time for 
membership in many clubs, taking special pride in the Sons of 
the American Revolution and the New England Society. 

Mr. Baker continued as general manager of the Plain Dealer 
from Kennedy's retirement in 1907 until 1920. Feeling then that 
his years of labor and his services to the paper entitled him to 
ease up a bit, he fathered a reorganization of the management 
which brought younger men into places of increased impor- 
tance. Baker himself became president of the publishing com- 
pany after the death of Mr. Holden in 1913. Finally, in the 
process of gradual retirement, Mr. Baker became chairman of 
the board, which title he retained until his death. 


Such facts constitute the outline of Elbert Baker's career with 
the Plain Dealer, They sketch a record; they do not portray the 

Success and acclaim never went to Baker's head. To the men 
and women who perf ormed the myriad tasks of getting out the 
daily he was more the big brother than the boss. And a friendly, 
smiling, appreciative brother he was, whose office door stood 
always open. But beyond the open door was likely to be an 
empty room, for Baker might be somewhere down the hall, in 
the local room fraternizing with the city editor or in the associ- 
ate editors' office chatting about editorials. 

The experience of a young editor newly come from Columbus 
was typical. On his second day at work while he was busy cut- 
ting copy, a pleasant-faced man of medium height and square 
physique drew up a chair beside him, threw an arm about his 
shoulders, and inquired kindly about his personal welfare. It 
was Baker, of course; the young man had never seen him before. 
He sincerely hoped the new employee would like the Plain 
Dealer; he would surely find it a friendly place to work. 

That was Elbert Baker as the older men and women on the 
staff like to recall him. In memory they still hear his quick sharp 
step on the marble floor of the long corridor. He was always in 
a hurry, yet had plenty of time to chat, for he was always inter- 
ested in small things as well as in the great drama of life. His 
deep-set eyes behind the heavy-rimmed glasses were windows 
of an active brain, reflections of a heart which beat in kindness. 

Cleveland remembers Elbert H. Baker as a great newspaper 
man and a force for civic betterment. His death on September 
27, 1933 was recognized as a major loss to the community. 10 

10 Mr, Baker gave two sons to journalism. Frank S. Baker is president- 
publisher of the News-Tribune at Tacoma, Washington, and Alton F. 
Baker is president-publisher and editor of the Register-Guard at Eugene, 



After some hesitation the Plain Dealer supports the mayor. 
Through Baker it plays a great part in ending the ten- 
year battle and establishing the Tayler Plan. 

TOM L. JOHNSON was back in Cleveland. The general opinion 
was that he intended to run for mayor. A young man who had 
just resigned from the editorial staff of the Plain Dealer walked 
across the street to the Hotel Hollenden to interview him. 

Johnson liked reporters and was especially glad to see one 
who could tell him how the wind blew in the office of the Demo- 
cratic daily. He needed friends and wondered if the Plain Dealer 
would support him if he ran for mayor. He was pretty sure the 
Press would do so, and even surer that the Leader and its eve- 
ning paper, the News and Herald, as well as the World, would 
oppose him. 

The prospective candidate told the newspaper man that he 
planned to talk the matter over with Liberty E. Holden. It 
would be better, his caller suggested, to see Charles E. Ken- 
nedy, co-lessee of the paper and its editorial manager. All right, 
he would ask Kennedy over to see him. 

" No, Mr. Johnson, you go over and see Mr. Kennedy," was 
the ex-reporter's reply. 1 

Johnson accepted the advice. His meeting with Kennedy, 
which soon followed, paved the way for an understanding be- 

1 The ex-reporter was Robert K. Beach, now head of the Ohio News 
Bureau, Cleveland. 



tween the future mayor and the Plain Dealer which was to prove 
important to both of them. Johnson profited politically by the 
support the Plain Dealer gave him. The Plain Dealer, then ap- 
proaching leadership in the local newspaper field, was benefited 
by its association with the rise of a popular idol. 

Kennedy was skeptical at the beginning. He feared that John- 
son was returning to Cleveland merely to strengthen the hand 
of the traction interests and not, as Johnson asserted, to help 
free the people of Cleveland from such domination. The meet- 
ing suggested by the former reporter resolved the doubts in the 
mind of the editorial manager. Thereafter Johnson and Kennedy 
became fast friends. 

The attitude of the Plain Dealer toward Tom Johnson had 
theretofore been uncertain and not infrequently unfriendly. 
Johnston first came to Cleveland in 1879, a man of twenty-five, to 
bid for a street railway grant which he did not get. He ran for 
Congress from the 21st district in 1888, with Plain Dealer sup- 
port, but was beaten by Theodore E. Burton. Two years later 
Johnson defeated Burton and in 1892 was re-elected over O. J. 
Hodge. By 1894 the paper had turned against Johnson, largely 
because of his advocacy of free trade, and Burton won the 
November majority. In 1896 Johnson flirted with the idea of run- 
ning again, and the Plain Dealer complimented him for decid- 
ing not to. Four years later Johnson was mentioned as a prob- 
able nominee and the paper charged him, whom it called a New 
Yorker, with " meddling " in a political situation which did not 
concern him. Again he did not run. 

Thus when Tom Johnson returned to Cleveland in the spring 
of 1901, announcing he had forsaken money-making to work 
for the common weal, he was justified in wondering whether he 
could count on Plain Dealer support in a contest for the mayor- 
alty of the city. 

After the meeting with Kennedy he knew that for the present 
at least he could depend on such support. The Plain Dealer 
backed his candidacy for mayor in five elections, was friendly 


toward him as a candidate for governor, and, for the most part, 
supported his storm-tossed program for lower street-car fares. 

The chief speaker at the Jackson Day banquet in Cleveland 
on January 8, 1901 was Tom L. Johnson. He had chosen this 
occasion to announce that he had quit business and would spend 
the rest of his life working for the general welfare. " I want no 
office/* he declared; " I will accept none/* 

He referred to the question of street-car fares, then much alive 
in Cleveland, and gave his opinion that adequate dividends 
could be earned at three cents a ride. 

In spite of Johnson's seeming determination not to accept 
office, less than three weeks later the Plain Dealer reported that 
a Johnson-for-mayor boom was under way. 2 Mayor John Farley 
had alienated a large element of his party, and Johnson ap- 
peared to be the only Democrat in sight capable of preventing 
his renomination. 

On a Wednesday evening early in February s a group of local 
Democrats, led by Harry Payer, called on Johnson at his Euclid 
Avenue residence and presented a petition with more than 
fifteen thousand signatures asking him to run for mayor. John- 
son read a prepared statement " I will be your nominee if the 
Democratic primaries so will it." He declared for three-cent 
fares and universal transfers as essential features in all future 
traction grants. 

At first hesitant about accepting Johnson's self -dedication to 
the public good, the Plain Dealer finally endorsed his candidacy 
for mayor after printing an interview which showed him in sym- 
pathy with a Chamber of Commerce plan for a two-year traction 
study, lower fares, a business administration, and lake front 
development. The paper said, in part: 

Mr. Johnson is a man of unquestioned business ability and un- 
impeachable honesty. His capacity for managing large affairs has 
been frequently demonstrated. His ability to handle men as well as 
great business enterprises has been shown by his popularity with 

2 January 27. 3 February 6. 


his employes and with working men everywhere. It is an important 
fact to be remembered in connection with his candidacy for the 
position of mayor that by force of character and tact he has been 
remarkably successful in managing those with whom he has been 
connected, but has not allowed them to manage him. Those who 
have known him best and watched him most closely have good rea- 
son for believing that if elected he would be the actual mayor of 
Cleveland and not the puppet of any party, faction or clique using 
his occupancy of the position for their advantage. 4 

The Johnson regime constitutes a long and highly important 
chapter of Cleveland history. Mention of it here is justified only 
to the extent that it relates to the story of the Plain Dealer. 

Every one of Tom Johnson's major achievements in his eight 
and a half years at City Hall was accomplished with active Plain 
Dealer support. The paper rode with him in triumph; it usu- 
ally shared his disappointments in defeat. At times it challenged 
details of his program; with the essence and purposes of the 
program it was continuously sympathetic. 

The best-remembered single aspect of the Johnson regime is 
that relating to the traction war, which ended with the adoption 
of the Tayler franchise. It happens, too, that Elbert H. Baker's 
most conspicuous achievement, aside from his rebuilding of the 
Plain Dealer, is likewise identified with this long battle for the 
establishment of popular control of a great public utility. 

The fight for lower fares began in Cleveland long before Tom 
Johnson thought o becoming mayor. As far back as 1887 Alder- 
man R. J. Cooney introduced an ordinance calling for six tickets 
for a quarter. 5 In the winter of 1896 Henry A. Everett sought a 
franchise to build thrfee-cent lines. In the fall of 1897 Council- 
man William R. Hopkins offered an ordinance to cut fares on 
Woodland Avenue from five to four cents at certain hours and 
to three cents at other hours of the day. 6 

4 February 26, 1901. 

5 Twenty years later Theodore E. Burton campaigned for mayor on 
a platform promising seven for a quarter, but was beaten by Johnson. 

6 Many years later Mr. Hopkins was city manager of Cleveland and 
the center of a famous political battle. 


But the real, determined, and successful battle for low fares 
and adequate public control awaited the advent of Tom John- 
son at City Hall on that morning in early April 1901 when he 
assumed the office of mayor. With him seated, the bugle call was 
not long in coming. During this first Johnson campaign, when he 
was opposed by W. J. Akers, Mayor Farley and a Democratic 
council had attempted to enact a blanket renewal ordinance 
which the Plain Dealer and the Chamber of Commerce con- 
demned. The attempt failed. 

From the outset the Plain Dealer differed with the mayor on 
one important detail of the traction controversy. He preached 
the adequacy of a three-cent fare and insisted the figure should 
be written into any franchise adopted. The paper, while not 
arguing that such a fare was inadequate, doubted whether any 
group of men could be wise enough to determine what rate of 
fare would be just to the car rider and to the stockholder 
throughout the twenty-five-year period of a grant. This point of 
view rather than Johnson's found expression when finally the 
Tayler Plan was established. 

" Cheap fare is not the only matter to be regarded in looking 
after the interests of the street car riders/' the paper argued. 
" Good service is equally important/ 7 7 

From the beginning of Johnson's first term until April 1908, 
the fight for three-cent fares went on almost without cessation. 
The traction interests, led by Marcus A. Hanna, fought desper- 
ately. In 1902 the federal plan of government, under which 
Cleveland operated, was attacked in court and ruled unconsti- 
tutional, and a new form of government was set up by the legis- 
lature all for the purpose of so limiting the mayor's powers as 
to render him impotent against the street railway companies. 

The attack failed, however. The election of 1903 gave Johnson 
such complete control at City Hall that even a municipal charter 
dictated by his enemies could not curtail his program for lower 

7 December 30, 1901. 


The militant mayor is here shown in his "Red Devil" auto, famous throughout Ohio. 


A Donahey cartoon in the Johnson-Burton mayoralty campaign in 1907. The eminent congress- 
man is represented as a blind man begging support for the Cleveknd Electric Street Railroad Co. 


The Johnson traction war is a story of innumerable court in- 
junctions, of midnight raids, of ingenious efforts to circumvent 
the enemy, of the incorporation of new traction companies, of 
the organization of a savings bank and its early disappearance, 
of calls for help from Washington and Columbus, of a popular 
mayor ever edging toward his goal, and of utility magnates des- 
perately fighting rear-guard battles to escape annihilation. 
Hanna and his associates fought with injunctions. Johnson's 
weapon was the popular majority ready in these years to respond 
to his every call. 

It was a story of mixed humor, pathos, and desperation. It 
was a battle of wits, a matching of resources, a clash of conflict- 
ing theories in the field of public transportation. Clevelanders 
whose memories go back to the beginning of the century recall 
Johnson's persistent efforts to bring low fare to the Public 
Square, with his track laid atop the pavement, his trolley poles 
set in barrels of sand. 

Many recall, too, the incident of Reporter Ben Allen's dash 
into a formal dinner at the Union Club to tell John Stanley of 
the Cleveland Electric that the low-fare apostles were on the 
loose again, and of Stanley's instant departure for the scene of 
trouble, clad in his tails and planning defense strategy as he 
went. These were stirring days in Cleveland. The dominant 
figure all the time was Johnson. 

Toward the end of 1907 it became apparent to many in Cleve- 
land that the long battle was headed for a complete deadlock. 
This kind of warfare could not continue indefinitely. Johnson 
had been elected for a fourth term in November, this time de- 
feating the distinguished Theodore E. Burton, and carrying a 
big councilmanic majority with him. The tide of battle in the 
courts had now turned in the mayor's favor. It was obvious that 
the Hanna interests could not win, though they might continue 
obstructive tactics. It was by no means clear that Johnson could 
win, great as had been his generalship. 

The situation seemed ripe for some new kind of negotiation, 


with concessions on each side if necessary to achieve a positive 
result. How could this be brought about? Seven years of fighting 
had left bitter antagonisms difficult now to erase. 

The man who discovered the magic formula was Elbert H. 
Baker, general manager of the Plain Dealer and its sole lessee 
since the retirement of Kennedy. Under Baker's direction the 
paper had supported Johnson at practically every step, but it 
had done so in a manner not to create serious antagonism among 
Johnson's enemies. 

In its terms the Baker proposal sounds almost absurdly sim- 
ple. The difficulty of getting it accepted lay in the mass of accu- 
mulated hostilities growing out of the eight years of turmoil over 
the traction issue. 

As far back as 1905 Johnson had suggested settlement of the 
controversy through the establishment of a holding company 
which would lease and operate all the existing lines, both new 
and old. Though the Cleveland Electric Street Railroad was not 
then interested in such a device, the Municipal Traction Com- 
pany was organized in June 1906 in pursuance of the plan. 

After the 1907 election Johnson again proposed the lease as a 
way to peace. At the end of November the old company once 
more rejected the plan. Nevertheless, it appeared to most ob- 
servers that the only way out of the difficulty lay in the accept- 
ance of some such leasing device as Johnson had urged. 

Elbert Baker now conceived the idea that the issue might be 
resolved by mediation if each party to the controversy the 
city council on the one hand and the Cleveland Electric Street 
Railroad on the other would select a single spokesman and 
clothe him with enough authority to make quick and vital de- 
cisions across the table. With little difficulty he persuaded City 
Hall to name Mayor Johnson. With much greater difficulty he 
persuaded the railway directors to choose Frederick H. Goff, and 
then persuaded Goff to leave a lucrative law practice to under- 
take this payless and probably thankless task. 

Thus the Baker plan was agreed to. In January the Johnson- 


GoflF mediation got under way. Valuation and security proved 
the two most difficult questions to settle. Late in April, after 
four months' continuous negotiation, complete agreement was 
announced. The settlement called for a " security grant " to be 
voted by the council, providing for the return of the property 
to the owners if the terms of the lease were violated. The Mu- 
nicipal Traction Company now began operating all the car lines 
of the city. 

Wild rejoicing throughout Cleveland followed the announce- 
ment of traction peace. April 28 was proclaimed ** Municipal 
Day ?> in celebration of the Johnson victory. No car fares were 
collected that day. Everybody rode deadhead. Some abused the 

On the evening of the 28th the following statement was issued 
from City Hall: 

With the successful completion of the long negotiations that have 
resulted in final and complete settlement of the street railway con- 
troversy, it is with great pleasure that we join in according recogni- 
tion to Mr. Elbert H. Baker, general manager of the Cleveland Plain 
Dealer, for the important part played by him in the adjustment. 

The plan by which the settlement was made possible was con- 
ceived by Mr. Baker. It was he who suggested that we act as media- 
tors and it was through his efforts that the two of us undertook the 

At the outset Mr. Baker exerted tremendous influence in the inter- 
est of adjustment and throughout the negotiations his co-operation 
has been of the most vital importance. 

We both feel that the community owes a vast debt to Mr. Baker 
and that in saying less we would f ail of our duty. 

Tom L. Johnson 
F. H. Goff 

Alas, this picture of peace and harmony was soon to fade. 
Many difficulties had been overcome, but the apparent victory 
was merely a mirage. 

Three-cent fares were excellent as a slogan. As a battle-cry it 
had won one majority after another at the polls. But as an op- 


crating principle on the streets of Cleveland it proved delusive. 

To make three-cent fares pay, President A. B. du Pont of the 
Municipal Traction Company announced, economies in man- 
agement must be adopted. Low fare will fail, said Johnson, un- 
less unprofitable lines can be dropped. East Cleveland said it 
was treated unfairly and threatened an injunction. The Plain 
Dealer decried the " overbearing attitude toward the public " 
assumed by Municipal directors. 8 

The most serious obstacle encountered by the new traction 
management was the protest of the carmen's union against al- 
leged discrimination. A strike was called, starting in mid-May. 
** Violence must be suppressed at all hazards/' said the mayor. 
The Plain Dealer condemned the strike. 9 

Under a new law put through the legislature by friends of 
Johnson the Schmidt Act a referendum was called on the 
" security grant." The Plain Dealer vigorously supported the 
measure on the ground that it was a cornerstone of the April 
settlement. Mr. Goff told the Builders' Exchange that receiver- 
ship of the traction properties would follow within ninety days 
if the grant were rejected. 

The special referendum election was held October 22, 1908. 
The grant was defeated. Said the Plain Dealer: " The traction 
settlement, made amid general rejoicing last April, has been 
abandoned and the whole interminable problem again thrown 

>9 -in 

open. 10 

A receivership for the Municipal Traction Company was or- 
dered by Federal Judge Robert W. Tayler on November 11. 
Eleven days later the end of the strike was announced. By the 
close of the year it appeared that Johnson's dream of three-cent 
fares for Cleveland was a storm-leveled house of cards. 

In a letter to the traction receivers on January 11, 1909, Judge 
Tayler outlined his ideas for a permanent settlement of the old 

8 June 12, 1908. 

9 May 17. 

10 October 23, 1908. 


controversy. Its basic principles, as he enunciated them, in- 
cluded guaranteed good service, six per cent dividends, and the 
lowest rate of fare compatible with those requirements. John- 
son expressed a general approval of the suggested plan. 

The situation again assumed a color of hopefulness when late 
in February a decision by Judge Knappen of Grand Rapids, 
sitting in the federal district court at Cleveland, confirmed John- 
son's contention that franchises on the Woodland and West 
Side lines had expired more than a year before. The mayor was 
delighted. By the logic of Knappen's ruling, he foresaw that 
within a year or two three-cent franchises would cover most of 
the traction territory within the city. 

He lost interest in the Tayler suggestion. He began to believe 
that, after all, he could win the old way. 

June 1909 saw two acts by the city council calculated to pro- 
long rather than end the wearisome controversy. The Plain 
Dealer condemned them both. The first was an ordinance au- 
thored by City Solicitor Newton D. Baker calling for an initial 
three-cent fare and a maximum of four cents. 11 The company 
would not, of course, accept these terms. 

The second act of the council was the so-called Schmidt grant, 
authorizing the mayor's friend Herman J. Schmidt to build a 
street railroad on Payne Avenue. 12 By extensions thereof the 
builder might operate lines along many routes then held by the 
Cleveland Railway Company. 13 The method was legal, but pub- 
lic sentiment had by now become set definitely away from fur- 
ther warfare, toward peace. 

11 Adopted June 4, 1909. 

13 June 7, 1909. Herman J. Schmidt is not to be confused with Thomas 
P. Schmidt, state senator who gave his name to the Schmidt Act, which 
authorized the referendum on the security grant. 

13 The Cleveland Railway Co. had emerged as a new corporation 
from the settlement of 1908. It had taken over the traction properties of 
the Cleveland Electric Street Railroad Co. and of the Forest City Rail- 
way Co., owner of the low-fare lines. It had leased the combined systems 
to the Municipal Traction Co. 


The Schmidt grant came to a popular referendum on August 
3. The Plain Dealer fought it vigorously. " Not a few of those 
who have been the mayor's stanchest friends," it said, " have 
come now to doubt his sincerity, to question his good faith and 
to believe that he has no genuine desire to bring about a trac- 
tion settlement." 14 

At the August election the Schmidt grant was defeated, and 
Mayor Johnson saw pass his last chance to give Cleveland what 
he had been working for since 1901. Three-cent fares were out. 
It was obvious that the long-deferred settlement must be made 
on some other basis. 

Who first thought of the underlying principles of the so-called 
Tayler Plan would be difficult to determine. The idea probably 
occurred to several at about the same time. In October 1908 
J. M. Shallenberger, former common pleas judge, in a letter to 
Elbert H. Baker had sketched the conditions of a grant which 
would secure for " Cleveland the most complete and efficient 
service at the lowest rate of fare that will insure a fair return." 
Identical in purpose was the scheme outlined by Judge Tayler 
himself in the following January. By June the Plain Dealer was 
discussing the merits of ** the Tayler plan." 15 

Councilman Walz introduced a " Tayler ordinance." 16 The 
council answered the suggestion by passing the Schmidt grant. 

In May, before the adoption by council of either the Baker 
ordinance or the Schmidt grant, the Plain Dealer said: 

The suggestion made in the traction conference yesterday that 
Judge Tayler be asked to pass upon the points of dispute between 
the city and the railway company is worthy of adoption. The only 
question concerns the judge's willingness to undertake the duty. If 
he is ready to assume the responsibility and to pass judgment upon 
the disputed issues the community will owe him a debt of gratitude 
even greater than it now acknowledges. . . , 17 

14 June 5. 

15 June 7, for instance. 

16 Plain Dealer, June 24. 

17 May 22. 


Johnson was then in no mood to accept the suggestion. He 
was much more inclined to accept it after the rejection of the 
Schmidt grant. He now faced another campaign for re-election. 
He had no reason for confidence that he could rally another 
popular majority to support a continuation of the old fight. 

It was Baker of the Plain Dealer who first suggested Judge 
Tayler as a single mediator between council and company. The 
judge was reluctant. Until after the August referendum John- 
son would show no interest. 

Finally, early in October, a month before the mayoralty elec- 
tion, announcement was made that all parties had agreed. 
Tayler would act as mediator. The company would accept his 
findings. Johnson would sign an ordinance to embody whatever 
the judge might decide. 

It was a second triumph for the Plain Dealer's general man- 
ager in his efforts to bring traction peace to Cleveland. It did 
not, however, save Mayor Johnson from the political defeat 
which unbiased observers had for months believed inevitable. 
Herman Baehr, the first Republican elected since 1897, became 

The rest of the traction story is quickly told. Judge Tayler 
worked assiduously on the measure that bears his name. The 
Baker ordinance was used as the basis for negotiation. Valua- 
tion and the rates of fare remained the particular difficulties to 
be worked out. It was the opinion of observers that at least as 
much of Johnson as of Horace E. Andrews went into the finished 
product. 18 

On Saturday night, December 18, 1909, a tired council and a 
tired mayor gave their unanimous if unenthusiastic approval 
of the new ordinance. Commending Judge Tayler for carrying 
through a " real settlement,** the Plain Dealer added: < Mayor 
Johnson has won, President Andrews has won, Cleveland has 

18 Andrews as president of the Cleveland Electric Street Railroad Co. 
and then of the Cleveland Railway Co., had borne the brunt of the fight 
against Johnson traction policies. 


won and the ability and ingenuity of Judge Tayler have been 
the forces that have accomplished the seemingly impossible." 19 

Some of the mayor's friends, dissatisfied with the terms of the 
agreement, demanded a referendum. The Plain Dealer saw no 
need for one. The council, however, ordered an election and set 
the date for February 17, 1910. It was generally supposed 
that Mayor Johnson favored the ordinance and would vote 
for it. 

To the surprise of the community, however, five days before 
the election Johnson in a newspaper interview assailed the pend- 
ing grant. Pathetically, he declared: 

I am sick now, and tired; it has wearied me to prepare this state- 
ment. I may not be able to say anything more at present, but if it 
were the last heartbeat in me, I would urge the people of Cleveland 
leaders, as they are, in the fight for democracy in this country I 
would urge them to vote with their eyes open. This ordinance is not 
a victory. It is a defeat. . . . 20 

The Tayler ordinance won at the election by a surprisingly 
large majority. Tom L. Johnson died fourteen months later. 

19 December 20, 1909. 

20 Cleveland Press, February 12. 



After sixty-three years the Evening Plain Dealer disap- 
pears, abandoning the field where the Grays had 
so firmly anchored it. The Evening Post. 

FOR forty-three years the Evening Plain Dealer, except for two 
or three abortive morning editions, constituted the whole Plain 
Dealer publishing enterprise. It was the father of the century- 
old Plain Dealer of today. But in the years following the estab- 
lishment of the morning and Sunday papers, the evening edition 
became not so much a father as a problem child. 

The prosperity that attended the morning and Sunday issues, 
after the demise of the Herald, did not spread into the afternoon. 
The Cleveland Press was making the big noise in the evening 
field. The "News and Herald, though years younger than the Eve- 
ning Plain Dealer, maintained a lead over its Democratic com- 
petitor which in the morning field the Leader finally struggled 
in vain to retain. 

The fact seems to be that as soon as the morning and Sunday 
editions were firmly established and their future appeared rea- 
sonably certain, the attention of the Plain Dealer management 
switched gradually away from the evening field. It was a com- 
mon observation that, except for the valuable afternoon fran- 
chise of the Associated Press, the Evening Plain Dealer would 
probably be dropped. The Press was supposedly ready to grab 



for the franchise the moment it might become available. 

In 1893, the year that Liberty E. Holden assumed personal 
direction of the editorial end of the Plain Dealer, a serious effort 
was made to make the evening edition something more than a 
weak echo of the morning paper. The directors voted on August 
30 to change the name of the Evening Plain Dealer to the Eve- 
ning tost. L. Dean Holden resigned as manager of advertising 
for the Plain Dealer and at the same meeting in October was 
elected business manager of the Post . 

The purpose was to divorce the evening from the morning edi- 
tion, give it a separate identity in the community, as far as pos- 
sible, and thus build it up as a more effective competitor of the 
News and Herald and the Press. The first issue of the Post ap- 
peared on October 2, 1893. 1 It was to continue publication 
through 1896. 

To emphasize the theory abandoned after a few months 
that the Evening Post was something more than an afternoon 
edition of the morning Plain Dealer, a new corporation was char- 
tered, the Post Publishing & Printing Company. It was intended 
ultimately to give the Post publishing quarters apart from those 
of the Plain Dealer. The New York Evening Post was then in 
the midst of its days of greatest popularity. Its Cleveland name- 
sake adopted the Old English first-page heading familiar to the 
admirers of Edwin L. Godkin. 2 

Further emphasis was given the thought of a separate iden- 
tity by establishing an editorial page and an editorial policy 

1 The selling price of the Post was put at one cent, to meet the com- 
petition of the one-cent Press. The News and Herald sold for two cents. 
At the same time the morning Plain Dealer cut its price to two cents. The 
Leader was selling for three cents. By establishing the Post, the Leader 
said, October 5, 1893, that the Plain Dealer was " blotting out of existence 
the evening edition of that paper which was once the proud organ of the 
Democracy of Ohio/' 

2 Godkin was editor-in-chief of the New York Evening Post from 1883 
till 1899. 


wholly independent of those of the Plain Dealer* At the begin- 
ning few editorials were used. Quotations from Plain Dealer edi- 
torials were meticulously credited to the morning paper. 
The Post declared its own policy to be this: 

The Evening Post aims to be strictly neutral in politics. It makes 
no pretensions to being even that anomaly of anomalies, an ** inde- 
pendent " newspaper an institution that exists only in the imagi- 
nation. . . .* 

In order that no doubt be entertained of its own political 
" neutrality/' the Post established a department called " The 
Partisan Press," wherein day after day it reprinted political 
editorials in parallel columns, one Democratic and the other 
Republican. Occasionally an editorial from the Plain Dealer 
made its appearance in this partisan symposium. 

All this high resolving, however, did not for long keep the 
Post free from partisan flavor. The Holdens were thorough 
Democrats. It was their money that kept the venture afloat. 
Business-office receipts did not indicate any great public appre- 
ciation of the younger Holden's effort to give Cleveland a ** neu- 
tral " Post in place of a Democratic Evening Plain Dealer. 

The Post Publishing & Printing Company disappeared. The 
Plain Dealer Publishing Company was by the middle of 1894 
the acknowledged proprietor of the Post. L. Dean Holden's 
name as business manager came off the masthead. Those of 
L. E. Holden, president, and Charles E. Kennedy, general man- 
ager, went up in its place. 

By now the editorial page of the Post each afternoon was iden- 
tical with that of the Plain Dealer the same morning. Through 
the presidential campaign of 1896 the Post the " neutral " of 
three years before stoutly argued for Bryan and free silver. 

8 This was an innovation in Cleveland. The Leader and its evening 
edition, the News and Herald, used identical editorial pages. The morn- 
ing page was reproduced in the afternoon. 

4 October 13, 1893. 


It joined the morning Plain Dealer after the election in declar- 
ing the defeated Nebraskan the " idol " and ** hero " of a re- 
pulsed but still militant political party. 5 

The pretense that the Evening Post was anything other than 
an afternoon edition of the Plain Dealer could scarcely be main- 
tained if anyone then wished to maintain it after the cam- 
paign and the defeat of 1896. On the first day of the new year, 
1897, the directors of the Plain Dealer voted " to consolidate 
the Evening Post with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, issuing all 
daily morning and evening editions under the general title 
* Cleveland Plain Dealer/ the evening edition to still contain in 
an incidental way the name Evening Post." L. Dean Holden was 
the only director to vote against this abandonment of the proj- 
ect he had sponsored a little more than three years before. 6 

Whether a Plain Dealer-owned Evening Post could have been 
made a success, had the original plans been persisted in, it 
would be impossible to say. The Leader, first with its News and 
later with its News and Herald, made a success of the independ- 
ent name. The Plain Dealer might, perhaps, have done as well. 

Thus the autumn of Bryan's first defeat saw also the end of 
the Evening Post of Cleveland. The Evening Plain Dealer re- 
appeared from its ashes. The name Plain Dealer had come back 
into the afternoon field where the Grays had first launched it 
fifty-five years before. 

Unhappily, however, the evening paper had merely returned 
to its old status. It remained, as before, only a piping echo of 
the morning edition. It offered no effective competition to either 
the Press or the News and Herald. 

5 This was the last time the Plain Dealer would support this particular 
" idol " for president. When he ran again in 1900 and 1908 the short- 
lived " neutrality " of the Post had complete possession of the editorial 

6 Liberty Dean Holden, third son of Liberty Emery Holden, was 
given credit for inspiring the move to establish the Post. He had other 
business interests and later became manager of the Hotel Hollenden. He 
was born in Cleveland February 7, 1869; died February 14, 1906. 

He inaugurated far-reaching policies which determined the character of the modern Plain Dealer. 







As late as the fall of 1900 the circulation of the Evening Plain 
Dealer was less than one third that of the Sunday edition and 
hardly more than a third that of the morning paper. It was 
obviously playing no great part in the life of its community. 

The destiny apparently long in store for the Evening Plain 
Dealer finally overtook it in the summer of 1905, twenty years 
after the establishment of the morning and Sunday editions. 7 
The program for its disappearance was engineered by Charles 
A. Otis, Cleveland broker and business man. 

Into the pot brewed by Otis went three Cleveland evening 
papers. Out of the pot, thanks to his brewing, emerged the 
Cleveland News as Cleveland knows it today. 

The story is unusual. It affords an interesting chapter in the 
history of northern Ohio newspapers. 

Mr. Otis first bought the Cleveland World. He then purchased 
the Cleveland Leader and the News and Herald. The World 
became the World-News. Shortly thereafter the Evening Plain 
Dealer was taken into the group. Soon the name World was 
dropped and the conglomerate afternoon paper, put together 
by Otis, became simply the Cleveland News. 

Politics played a part in the three-way merger, though it can- 
not be said that politics inspired it. Tom L. Johnson was in the 
heyday of his power in Cleveland. Charles A. Otis, a Republican 
and a Cleveland Electric Street Railroad stockholder and direc- 
tor, believed that the policies of the mayor, particularly in rela- 
tion to local transportation, were inimical to the interests of the 
city. He saw threatened with destruction the work of pioneer 
citizens of Cleveland who had built a great street railway sys- 
tem as part of their contribution to the prosperity of their com- 

The Plain Dealer and the Press were supporting Johnson. The 
Leader and the News and Herald were opposing him. 

The Cleveland World, evening and Sunday, had barely sur- 

7 The last issue of the Evening Plain Dealer was published on July 15, 


vived the tribulations of recent years and was ready for a pur- 
chaser. Springing from the Sunday World, the evening edition 
had made its appearance in 1889. The enterprise had gone 
through a receivership in 1896. 

Otis organized the Meridian Printing Company with an au- 
thorized capital of $300,000, and through its agency bought the 
World from John H. Blood, its chief owner. Blood became a di- 
rector of the corporation. B. F. Bower had been president and 
treasurer of the World Company, and was editor and general 
manager of the World when Otis stepped in. 8 Frederick C. 
Beyer was city editor. 9 

One of the new owner's first moves was to drop the Sunday 
World as profitless. One of his first discoveries was that the 
Evening World had no adequate news service. It needed some- 
thing like the Associated Press. 

The Cleveland Leader was by now outstripped by the Plain 
Dealer. The Leader's afternoon edition, the News and Herald y 
was by comparison with the competitors in its own field in bet- 
ter condition than its parent. If Otis could get the News and 
Herald he would procure a membership in the Associated Press 
and thus give the World a service it greatly needed. 

Had Otis been able to secure the News and Herald without 
the Leader it is probable that he would have done so. This be- 
ing impossible, he bought both the old Cowles papers. 10 

The shadow of the militant Press stood across the afternoon 
newspaper field. Otis, now well into his new career as a news- 
paper publisher, could see no reason why the advertising reve- 

8 B. F. Bower and George A. Robertson bought the World in 1889 
and in 1895 sold it to Robert P. Porter. Following their sale of the World 
Bower and Robertson established the Cleveland Recorder, morning and 
evening, which, after a brief career, was sold to the Plain Dealer. 

9 Frederick C. Beyer, born in Wayland, New York, came to Cleve- 
land in 1880 and from that time till 1904 was connected with the Leader, 
rising to the position of managing editor. From 1904 till 1912 he was city 
editor of the News. He died October 2, 1939. 

10 The last issue of the News and Herald was dated June 10, 1905. 


nue which escaped the grasp of the Scripps-McRae paper should 
be divided between two other afternoon papers, the News and 
the Plain Dealer. He approached the owners of the Plain Dealer 
with a view to its elimination. 

The Holden group was receptive to the idea. By now Albert 
F. Holden, the eldest son, had come into some measure of lead- 
ership. He was vice president of the Plain Dealer corporation. 
Speaking for his father and the rest, " Bert " Holden conducted 
the negotiations with Otis. 

On July 21, 1905 the directors of the Plain Dealer Publishing 
Company authorized the sale of the evening paper to the Merid- 
ian Printing Company, taking in payment therefor $250,000 in 
bonds of the latter corporation. In the memorandum of agree- 
ment between the two parties appears this item: 

That it is to their common interest that the newspaper business of 
the city of Cleveland and vicinity will be best conserved by having 
two morning papers of opposite politics and two evening papers to 
be independent in every respect in the management and publication 
from the morning papers, and that neither morning paper shall pub- 
lish an evening edition, and the two evening papers shall publish no 
Sunday paper. 

It had been a process of simplification. The situation in the 
evening newspaper field had now been " cleaned up." There 
were now two English-language afternoon papers where there 
had been four. From the point of view of an opponent of Tom 
L. Johnson and his transportation policies, there were now one 
pro-Johnson and one anti- Johnson paper in the evening field, 
where there had been, after the absorption of the News and 
Herald, two supporting the mayor to one in opposition. 

Having achieved the result he had in mind so far as the situ- 
ation in the afternoon newspaper field was concerned, Otis had 
no wish to continue indefinitely as a publisher. He had other 
interests demanding his attention. They were more to his taste 
than was the operation of a couple of newspaper plants. The 
stage was set for a newcomer. 


Medill McCormick, part owner of the Chicago Tribune, had 
married Ruth Hanna, daughter of the Cleveland Senator, and 
had his eye on the Cleveland newspaper field. His grandfather, 
Joseph Medill, had gone from the Cleveland Leader to rebuild 
the Chicago Tribune and start it on the way to a phenomenal 
success. The grandson sought to reverse the process, returning 
from the Tribune to the Leader. 

Accordingly, Otis sold to McCormick a half-interest in the 
Leader and the News. By agreement between them, Otis con- 
tinued to direct the News while McCormick took personal con- 
trol of the Leader. The new director and half-owner of the 
Leader made strenuous efforts to bring the paper back to some- 
thing of its former glory, but in the end had to confess that the 
momentum by that time attained by the Plain Dealer was too 
great to overcome. 

The McCormick interest was then taken over by Dan R. 
Hanna, son of the Senator and brother-in-law of the Chicagoan. 
In the process of the transfer Hanna became outright owner of 
the Leader and Otis of the News. The new ownership of the 
Leader became effective in the fall of 1910. 

As the national campaign of 1912 approached, Hanna leaned 
heavily toward Theodore Roosevelt and the Bull Moose cause. 
Under the circumstances, the Leader was certain to support the 
insurgent against the Republican President seeking re-election. 11 

Otis, as owner of the News, could not agree that the welfare 
of the country or, selfishly, that of the Republicans themselves 
called for the ditching of the old party and the defeat of Presi- 
dent Taf t It would have seemed a bit incongruous for these part- 
ners of many years the Leader and the News to go through 
the coming crucial campaign on opposite sides of the partisan 

11 The day after Theodore Roosevelt was nominated for president by 
the Progressive convention at Chicago the Leader declared its support of 
him ** the first citizen of his generation." The News remained neutral 
as between Taft and Roosevelt. 


It was a friendly disagreement between the two newspaper 
owners, but in a sense a serious one. Otis and Hanna had been 
intimate personal friends and associates for years. They found 
no difficulty, therefore, in resolving the situation in a business- 
like way. 

Hanna bought the News of Otis in 1912. He erected the pres- 
ent Leader Building to house his two papers. In 1917 he sold 
the daily morning Leader to the Plain Dealer, retaining the Sun- 
day Leader, linking it with the News and calling it the News- 
Leader. In 1925 the name Leader and the hyphen were dropped. 
In 1926 the present News Building was occupied. In 1933 the 
Plain Dealer bought the Sunday News. 

The Plain Dealer had now become Cleveland's only morning 
and Sunday paper. A situation long in the making had finally 



The Plain Dealer, a leader in the move to establish the 
Group Plan, settles down at a corner of it. Now occu- 
pies its tenth home in the heart of Cleveland. 

FHUES have destroyed cities, only to have greater, more beauti- 
ful cities rise from the ruins. Fire destroyed the Plain Dealer 
Building in the winter of 1908, clearing the way for the mod- 
ern newspaper plant of today. 

When the Plain Dealer moved to what is now Superior Ave- 
nue and East 6th Street it completed its ninth migration in the 
fifty-four years since the Grays started publication in the Cleve- 
land Advertisers old quarters above the Postoffice at 37 Superior 
Street. A growing paper in a growing community, it was ever 
under the necessity of finding larger space and more convenient 
facilities for publication. 

When the Grays at the beginning of 1842 bought the usable 
assets of the Advertiser it seemed the logical step to take over 
also the Advertiser's shop and sanctum. By the end of March, 
however, less than three months later, the Plain Dealer an- 
nounced that it had moved to quarters * above Dr. W. A. Clark's 
drug store, a few doors below the Franklin, on Main street/ 7 x 
At the same time announcement was made that the publication 

1 March 30. Superior was then sometimes called Main Street. 



of the paper was now united with the job printing establish- 
ment hitherto belonging to Penniman & Bemis. 2 

The establishment of the evening daily in 1845 called for 
additional equipment, and the Plain Dealer went to the Mer- 
chants' Exchange Building, opposite the Weddell House. Here 
it became a co-tenant with the Cleveland Herald and was able 
to make use of the steam power recently made available for 
presses by M. C. Younglove & Company. Two years later this 
arrangement was abandoned, and in 1847 J. W. Gray moved his 
plant to quarters at 17 Superior Street above A. S. Sanford's 
bookstore. 8 After Gray's death it was Sanford, as administrator 
of the estate, who sold the Plain Dealer to W. W. Armstrong. 

In 1851 Gray bought and occupied the recently completed 
Arcade Building at the corner of Superior and Vineyard Streets, 
opposite the end of Water (now West 9th ) Street. The building 
was immediately given the name of the paper, and there its pub- 
lication was continued through the remaining eleven years of 
Gray's life and the stormy administration of Stephenson. The 
building became a center of Democratic party activities under 
three publishers, for Armstrong, buying the paper in 1865, re- 
tained the old quarters until 1869. 

In the same year that the Plain Dealer moved to this, the first 
building it had owned, the Herald went to the magnificent, 
stone-front structure on Bank ( now West 6th ) Street, which had 
been erected by Josiah A. Harris, one of its proprietors. The 
Herald occupied this building till 1885, when the Plain Dealer 
took possession. 

When in 1869 Armstrong took his paper from the Vineyard 
Street corner to 107 Bank Street the old building was sold to 

2 Job printing remained a part of the Plain Dealer enterprise until the 
fire of 1908. 

8 Announcement of the move was made on October 12, but the actual 
migration did not occur till December. " The Plain Dealer building . . . 
is the name of the new Brick Block just opened on Superior street three 
doors below the Franklin House. ... It is a very fine superstructure of 
three stories and has a large cellar and attic," the paper announced. 


James Brokenshire, who had been in the business office of the 
paper under Gray. He in turn sold it to the Bratenahl Brothers, 
dealers in leather, who razed the old structure and on the site 
erected a new one which long bore their name. 4 

From 107 Bank Street to 107 Seneca Street the Plain Dealer 
next took its way. This was to the Drum Block and the migra- 
tion occurred in 1874. Here the paper lived through some of its 
most exciting days. It was this home of the Plain Dealer that 
the belligerent hosts of Democracy stormed in glad acclaim in 
November 1876 when it was supposed Tilden had been elected 
president of the United States. They returned eight years later 
when the returns showed indubitably that Grover Cleveland 
had been chosen the first Democrat since the Civil War to sit 
in the White House. 

The Plain Dealer made its next move in the same month that 
Cleveland took the oath of office. The Herald suspended publi- 
cation, its physical assets being taken by the Democratic eve- 
ning paper, then recently bought by Liberty E. Holden and 
associates. Thus the Plain Dealer in March 1885 moved into the 
building on Bank Street which the Herald had moved into on 
its completion in 1851. 

Four years later, with the morning and Sunday Plain Dealer 
now in full flower, more space again became imperative, and 
at the end of May the paper pulled up stakes to move a short 
distance north to the southeast corner of Bank and Frankfort 
Streets. Here for the first time the operations of the paper were 
lighted by electricity, the new illuminant being manufactured 
by the paper itself. That the migration from the old Herald 
building was not without its humorous aspects is indicated by 
an editorial on the occasion: 

Old friends were left behind in bewilderment and despair rats 
grown gray and wise in continual association with human intelli- 
gence and ingenuity, and cockroaches whose courteous hospitality 

4 From these Bratenahls the village on the lake shore east of Cleve- 
land took its name. 


permitted editors and reporters to occasionally use the desks which 
the roaches had inherited as homes through successive generations. 
These old friends will be missed but not for long. As the exodus went 
on, inquisitive rodents and interested roaches watched the departure 
and noted the direction the procession took. The distance is not great 
and when the rats and roaches grow weary of the solitude and long 
for human companionship they, too, will take up the line of march 
northward and drop in upon their old chums with a familiar 
"howdy." . . . 

The last decade of the century saw an acceleration of Cleve- 
land's march of business eastward beyond the Public Square. 
In May 1896 the Plain Dealer joined the procession and on the 
first day of June the Plain Dealer and the Evening Post were 
issued for the first time from the new address at Superior Street 
(now Avenue) and Bond Street (since named East 6th). 5 
There were two buildings on this site, one on the Superior and 
the other on the Rockwell Street end of the property. The for- 
mer was adapted to house the editorial and business activities 
and the latter the mechanical plant, including a thriving job- 
printing establishment. The Plain Dealer would shortly erect 
a small building between and connecting the two. 

On this site, enlarged as business expansion required, the 
Plain Dealer has remained these forty-six years since 1896. 
Here much, of the history of the paper has been made. In the 
century of publication the Plain Dealer has been printed from 
ten different locations, an average of one per decade. By com- 
parison the present site may thus be called " permanent." 

This property was owned by John Hay and Ms wife, Clara 
Stone Hay. Liberty E. Holden had taken a lease on the land 
and buildings, and this lease he later sold to the Plain Dealer 

5 When the Plain Dealer was preparing to abandon the site at the 
Bank and Franfort corner, a considerable group in the Cleveland Cham- 
ber of Commerce favored that location for the new building the chamber 
was about to erect. The decision finally, however, was to build at the 
northeast corner of the Public Square. The structure now occupied by 
Cleveland College was the result of that decision. Kinney & Levan, retail 
merchants, took the space vacated by the Plain Dealer. 


Publishing Company for $100,000, payment being made in pre- 
ferred stock in the corporation. The lease contained the usual 
option to buy the property, and in January 1901 the directors 
voted to take title to it. It was the second time in the fifty-nine 
years of its existence that the paper actually owned the real 
estate from which it was published. 

The paper was now comfortably housed, though no part of 
the plant had been built for newspaper use. There were in- 
conveniences, and architecturally the paper's home left much to 
be desired. The latter fact was particularly impressive, since a 
Mall and a Group Plan were being talked of to occupy space 
immediately adjoining. Besides, the institution was already out- 
growing its space. 

Fire on the bitterly cold morning of February 2, 1908 helped 
answer questions which would soon have pressed on the man- 
agement. Caused presumably by defective wiring in the mail- 
ing-room, it gutted the mechanical end of the Plain Dealer 
plant. Twenty-two linotype machines and other valuable equip- 
ment on the top floor and the job-printing plant on a lower 
floor were dropped in ruins into the basement. The presses, 
however, were but little damaged, precautions having been 
taken against just such an emergency as this. What injury they 
suffered was from water. But the Rockwell end of the establish- 
ment was beyond any possibility of restoration, and the front 
part was left without essential conveniences. 

Immediate offers came from the Leader, the News, and the 
Press of their complete equipment for the Plain Dealer's tem- 
porary use. The invitation of the New s was accepted and from 
its plant on lower Ontario Street the publication of the Plain 
Dealer was continued uninterruptedly until its own temporary 
plant could be assembled. 

The News thus returned the favor which the Plain Dealer 
had done the predecessor of the News, the Cleveland World, 
when the plant of the latter was destroyed by fire in 1895. 

Until February 24 the Plain Dealer used the News presses and 

Occupied 1847-51 



Covered part of site of present Plain 
Dealer Building. Razed after the fire 
of 1908, 



other equipment. By that time temporary quarters had been 
established in the abandoned livery stable of the Hotel Hollen- 
den on Superior Street adjacent to the hotel itself. 

Into these cramped quarters moved the editorial department. 
In them was set up a battery of new linotype machines. Here 
new steam tables were put in operation, making the matrices, 
which were sent across the street to the stereotype machines 
and the presses operating in the basement of the burned struc- 

Except for the business activities of the paper, which con- 
tinued in the old front building, and the presses and the making 
of stereotype plates in the old basement, most of the operations 
of the paper, morning and Sunday, continued in these depress- 
ing surroundings until the summer of 1909. Workers, loyal to 
their paper, took the experience as part of life. There was no 
deterioration in the quality of the publication. 

Meanwhile, the destroyed rear portion of the old establish- 
ment had been replaced by a structure of granite, steel, and con- 
crete. Into it on August 1 moved the remainder of the mechani- 
cal operations, and the news department. Though work on the 
front half of the new building went forward at once as soon as 
the ground could be cleared, not until November 25, 1911 was 
the Superior end completed and ready for occupancy. There- 
upon the last of the migrants from the old livery stable trekked 
across the street to offices which smelled of varnish and to desks 
as yet unscarred by heel or splotch of ink. On this Saturday 
before Thanksgiving, two years and nine months after the fire, 
the Plain Dealer held open house in celebration of the comple- 
tion of its new home. Hundreds of people came to tour the 
building and to admire the great counting-room in Italian 
marble, bronze, and mahogany. 

From typewriters clicking between walls which formerly 
echoed to the stamp of horses* hoofs had come the editorials 
which helped bring a peaceful ending to the ten-year traction 
war, tried to save the security grant against a hostile popular 


majority, helped defeat the Schmidt franchise, and attempted 
without success to persuade the voters of Cleveland to give 
Tom Johnson a fifth term at City Hall. The city editor and his 
staff, compressed into quarters wholly inadequate, covered the 
Collinwood school disaster, one of the great local news stories 
of all time in Cleveland. 

The present Plain Dealer Building, as the community knows 
it, conspicuous in the heart of Cleveland, was erected in three 
sections. First came the part at the corner of Rockwell Avenue 
and East 6th Street which covers the site of the old structure 
destroyed by fire. Then came the section at the Superior Ave- 
nue corner, completing the frontage along East 6th Street. 
Even now, however, it was realized that the anticipated growth 
of the enterprise would in a few years require more space than 
this completed new building afforded. 

Accordingly, land was bought in several parcels west of the 
building, the structures occupying them were razed, and in 1921 
work was begun on the addition which would practically 
double the size of the Plain Dealer Building. 

The fire in 1908 precipitated the issue as to whether the 
company should remain on the old site or move to some cheaper 
if not more convenient place. It was decided, first, to remain. 
If the paper were to remain, however, it was obvious that the 
new building must harmonize with the structures already be- 
ginning to take form along the Mall. This would be relatively 
costly construction, but the management and owners were will- 
ing to stand the additional expense in order to give the Plain 
Dealer a home in architectural harmony with its neighbors. 

Elbert H. Baker, general manager, held many conferences 
with architects and others interested in maintaining the dignity 
of the Group Plan. The design finally worked out met the full 
approval of everyone concerned. In Baker's words, it harmo- 
nizes but does not compete with the monumental public build- 
ings which carry out the spirit of the Group on the Mall. 

The Leader in one of its petulant moments charged the Plain 


Dealer with "having 'butted' into Cleveland^ Group Plan 
with a newspaper manufacturing plant located on a corner 
where everyone expected an open park to be established. . . .** 6 
Whatever resentment existed because of the Plain Dealers de- 
cision to continue to make this corner its home was apparently 
confined to the editorial office of the competing morning paper. 

The Plain Dealer, conscious of its responsibilities to the com- 
munity which helped it to prosper, is proud of its location in 
the heart of Cleveland and has never felt an apology was due 
because its building adjoins a corner of the Group Plan. 

Thus the paper which early espoused the Mall proposal, 
whose general manager was in no small measure responsible 
for enlisting the powerful influence of Tom L. Johnson in its 
promotion, found itself by 1922, on completion of the west half 
of the building, practically a part of the Group Plan. The dis- 
aster of fire had helped weave the pattern of achievement. 

6 November 6, 1909. It is true, of course, that in the first designs 
adopted for the Mall and Group Plan, the ground now occupied by the 
Plain Dealer Building was scheduled for park purposes. How far, if at 
all, the presence of this building detracts from the beauty of the civic 
center must be left for others to answer. The time when the paper's de- 
cision was made to remain on the old site was close upon what the City 
Plan Commission later called " the most discouraging period in the history 
of this [the Group] plan." Events were moving very slowly toward the 
consummation of a great civic achievement. 



By its support of the constitution in 1912 the Plain Dealer 
wins fresh recognition as an organ of pro- 
gressive opinion. Other policies. 

THE FIRST decade of tlie twentieth century saw a sharpening 
division of sentiment in the United States on political and eco- 
nomic questions touching the well-being of the common man. 
Liberalism, though difficult to define precisely, became a force 
to be reckoned with at the polls and in legislative bodies. In 
this decade the term was coming to mean a philosophy, under- 
standable even if not always quite definable. 

Woodrow Wilson, Governor of New Jersey, gave voice to it in 
his " New Freedom," * which he defined as " an attempt to ex- 
press the new spirit of our politics and to set forth in large terms 
which may stick in the imagination what it is that must be done, 
if we are to restore our politics to their full spiritual vigor again 
and our national life ... to its purity, its self-respect and its 
pristine strength and freedom/' 

Newton D. Baker was spokesman for the faith in Cleveland, 
carrying on in the spirit of Tom L. Johnson after the latter's 

1 The New Freedom was the title of the book edited by William 
Bayard Hale which included some of " the more suggestive portions " of 
Wilson's speeches. Wilson himself wrote the preface, including the defini- 
tion quoted in the text above. 



retirement from public life. Brand Whitlock in Toledo personi- 
fied the same trend of thought. East and west men were enlist- 
ing in the war against privilege and piratical complacency. 

Being itself for years the under-dog in the local competitive 
newspaper field, the Plain Dealer naturally sympathized with 
every man who found himself an under-dog in the economic 
struggle. It voiced the aspiration of common men for a larger 
share in the good things of life. It challenged the right of die 
economically powerful to dictate to the underprivileged. 

When, therefore, near the beginning of the new century the 
lines began to form for the battle for liberalism, there was but 
one place for the Plain Dealer. That was on the side of the 
Wilsons, the Bakers, and the Whitlocks, then striving to widen 
the economic horizons of millions of men. 

The issue came to every voter in Ohio in the spring and sum- 
mer of 1912 when a constitutional convention, whose delegates 
had been elected in a surge of liberal sentiment, submitted to 
popular vote a new basic law for the state. It was the first thor- 
ough overhauling the constitution had had in more than half 
a century. Obviously here was an opportunity to provide fresh 
and becoming political garments for one of the older common- 
wealths not theretofore much given to experimentation in gov- 
ernmental forms. 

The convention adopted the unusual device of submitting the 
new constitution in forty-two distinct amendments, giving the 
electorate the opportunity of passing judgment on each of them, 
adopting or rejecting them individually as it chose, It was rec- 
ognized that if the amendments were adopted or even the 
more important of them the changes they would bring about 
in the fundamental law of the state would mean the most pro- 
nounced step which had been taken by any state in the Union, 
not even excepting those on the Pacific coast and some of the 
newer states like Oklahoma and Arizona, which in their first 
constitutions had incorporated many new ideas in government 
not yet generally accepted. 


As unusual as the method of the convention in submitting the 
new constitution was the plan of the Plain Dealer in laying the 
proposal before the voters of the state. In a series of leading 
editorials running through most of the summer the election 
was on September 3 the paper discussed one amendment after 
another separately and, except in one instance, told why it be- 
lieved the particular proposal should be adopted or rejected. 

The Plain Dealer was the only newspaper in the state to fol- 
low this policy of complete candor with its readers. 2 As day 
after day the paper put its stamp of approval on one far-reach- 
ing innovation after another, some in the community expressed 
a quite unjustified surprise. Cleveland and the state as a whole 
accepted the fact as fresh evidence that the Plain Dealer was 
in truth acting the part of a spokesman for liberal opinion. 

Of the forty-two amendments the Plain Dealer recommended 
thirty-seven for adoption and avoided a commitment on one 
which would have enfranchised the women of the state. 3 The 
voters in the September election approved thirty-four and re- 
jected eight, including the suffrage proposal. 

Among the moot amendments which the Plain Dealer argued 
for and saw adopted was one establishing the initiative and 
referendum, one setting up state-wide primaries, workmen's 
compensation, a liberalized recall to include judges, and one 
giving the lethal dose to prison contract labor. Among the most 
important was the amendment granting political home rule to 
the cities of the state. 

This was the summer which saw Woodrow Wilson campaign- 
ing for the presidency against a Republican Party split by Theo- 
dore Roosevelt. Liberal Democrats had rallied to Wilson's sup- 
port in the Baltimore convention. Judson Harmon, Governor of 

2 The Press gave a blanket endorsement to all the amendments. The 
Leader recommended a few, including that for woman suffrage. It after- 
ward hailed the election as a ** great day's work." 

3 A few years later the Plain Dealer became an ardent advocate of 
woman suffrage. In 1912 it could at least claim that in opposing it for 
Ohio, it spoke for an overwhelming popular majority. 


Ohio, had been a candidate for the presidential nomination, but 
when he went before an early session of the constitutional con- 
vention and denounced the initiative and referendum as a dan- 
gerous doctrine, he alienated the liberal Democrats of the state 
and made his own nomination at Baltimore impossible. 

The Plain Dealer gave him no support for the presidency, 
though it had been his consistent supporter as governor. New- 
ton D. Baker took the fight for Wilson to the floor of the na- 
tional convention and was largely instrumental in breaking the 
" unit rule" which bound the Buckeye Democrats to Harmon's 
support. For the first time since 1896 the Plain Dealer supported 
a nominee for president. The liberalism of Wilson appealed 
strongly to the morning liberal organ of northern Ohio. 

Cleveland, under Baker's leadership, was first among Ohio 
cities to take advantage of the home-rule provision of the new 
constitution. The city charter was adopted in 1913, with the 
active support of the Plain Dealer. 

In pursuance of its policy of complete candor in its handling 
of public issues, the Plain Dealer inaugurated the practice in 
each state or local campaign of recommending candidates for 
election, after they had been nominated in party primaries. It 
was the first paper in Ohio, if not in the country, to render this 
service regularly to its readers. The practice began in a limited 
way in 1908. By 1912 it was a settled Plain Dealer policy and 
has been followed unswervingly ever since. 

The argument sustaining it is that, inasmuch as each voter is 
expected to make enlightened choices in the election booths, 
there can be no excuse for a newspaper to evade these decisions, 
since it has far greater opportunities than he for ascertaining 
facts. That these Plain Dealer recommendations are widely 
appreciated as a public service is indicated by the pressure 
brought to bear by candidates at each election to win the paper's 
endorsement. Nominees who desire but are refused the favor of 
a recommendation often decry its importance. Their attitude 
is strongly tinctured with the flavor of sour grapes. 


Other papers came in time to follow the example of the Plain 
Dealer in the endorsement of candidates and issues. The Plain 
Dealer novelty of thirty or more years ago is now in Ohio a 
commonplace practice. 

" Liberalism/' says Harold Stearns, in Liberalism in America, 
is " willing to face opposite views; it welcomes them." 

In the early days of Elbert H. Baker's management of the 
paper, the Plain Dealer may have been chargeable with over- 
caution in its handling of many public questions. It was engaged 
in building goodwill and naturally sought to make as few ene- 
mies as possible. Unhappily it gained for itself in this period a 
local reputation for being often insipid. Too many editorials 
ended with some neutralizing observation; perhaps with a brief 
paragraph beginning; " On the other hand, however. . . /* 

An office tradition preserves the comment of the late Percy 
Knight, then chief editorial writer, when Baker announced in 
1904 an intention to fight for granite as the building material for 
the Federal Building on the Mall " Thank God," said Knight, 
" this is the end of our hat-in-hand policy! " 4 

Local business interests wanted sandstone, a local product. 
Labor demanded sandstone. The Plain Dealer argued that, inas- 
much as this building was the first to go into the Group Plan, 
the material used in its construction would set a pattern for the 
great structures to follow. After a bitter fight in Cleveland and 
in Washington, granite won. The pattern it set has been fol- 
lowed only in part, however. Considerations of cost have wres- 
tled with aesthetic considerations and sometimes won. 

The Plain Dealer gave its support to zoning when spokesmen 
for business and industry challenged its legality and denounced 
its evil purpose. 

From the day before the Fourth in July 1908, when a fire- 
works fire in a Cleveland ten-cent store cost seven lives, the 

4 Percy Knight was born at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1866. A graduate of 
Bowdoin College, he came to the Plain Dealer in 1888. He died in Cleve- 
land February 6, 1908. 


Plain Dealer was a constant advocate of legislation to relieve 
Independence Day of its deadly peril. Murder and suicide in 
the name of patriotism were crimes the more detestable be- 
cause so readily preventable. Cleveland became the first big 
city to celebrate a Sane Fourth. When it was seen that local leg- 
islation was inadequate to curb the sadistic Fourth, the Plain 
Dealer turned its attention to the legislature and in session 
after session saw its proposals for state-wide control of the evil 
shelved at the behest of hostile lobbyists. Not until the winter 
of 1941 was an adequate law enacted. 

Against the protests of the leaders of both parties, the Plain 
Dealer supported the city-manager plan and helped make 
Cleveland the largest city in America to have its non-political 
affairs administered by one chosen outside of politics. It resisted 
abandonment of the plan, even after politicians had warped it 
to their uses, and has since many times argued that ultimately 
the demand for good government will call the manager plan 
back to City Hall. 

The Plain Dealer almost from the beginning of its existence 
a hundred yeats ago has continually advocated the annexation 
of suburbs as fast as they appeared ready for full partnership 
with the parent city. Seventeen years ago, realizing the diffi- 
culty of persuading prosperous suburbs to give up their sepa- 
rate identity, the paper began urging the adoption of a borough 
plan which would permit the outlying communities to retain a 
large measure of their independence while still co-operating 
with Cleveland to make it a greater, bigger, stronger city. 5 It 
cannot be said that this advocacy has as yet been fruitful, but 
the principle behind it stands sharp analysis. 

Not long after the appearance of the morning Plain Dealer in 
1885 it began a ceaseless demand for the construction of a mu- 
nicipal auditorium conveniently located and large enough to 
accommodate the largest possible civic events. The present Pub- 
lic Hall on the east side of the Mall, its first major unit com- 
5 Editorial, May 15, 1925, 


pleted twenty years ago, came in answer to such agitation 
pressed in season and out. 

Cuyahoga River improvement and lake front development 
Have been twin enterprises urged by the Plain Dealer for many 
years as contributions to the greater glory of industrial Cleve- 
land. And to the Plain Dealer a developed lake front means a 
lake front made available to commerce, not a lake front devoted 
exclusively or primarily to recreation. 

In harmony with this vision of a city made greater by increas- 
ing its water transportation facilities, the Plain Dealer was the 
first newspaper on Lake Erie to advocate construction of the 
St. Lawrence Waterway. 

Because it believes in the vast importance of lake commerce 
the Plain Dealer was among the first to combat Chicago's pro- 
posal to divert practically unlimited quantities of water from 
Lake Michigan down the barge canal to the Mississippi. In later 
years its interest in maintaining the water levels of the lakes, 
jeopardized by the Chicago program, has been increased by the 
conviction that, despite formidable hostility, the St. Lawrence 
Waterway will some day become a reality. 

Although the paper has for years resisted every proposal to 
put Cleveland directly in the street railway business, it gave 
its support from the start to the Municipal Light Plant. It op- 
posed Tom L. Johnson on the issue of municipal ownership of 
transportation lines, while supporting him on most major ques- 
tions. It has argued that street-car transportation is a natural 
monopoly, wherein the maximum benefit is derived from the 
largest feasible measure of public control, whereas the making 
and distribution of electricity lends itself to competitive meth- 
ods. The story of light and power rates in Cleveland since Tom 
L. Johnson first put the city into the business seems to sustain 
the thesis that in this field healthful competition carries the best 
assurance of public benefit. 

Critics have tried to persuade the Plain Dealer that its ad- 
vocacy of an appointive state and local judiciary is out of har- 


mony with its adherence to liberalism. The paper has remained 
unconvinced. It sees the rights of the underprivileged endan- 
gered, not strengthened, by the present rule which almost com- 
pels a candidate for judge, whether running for re-election or 
making his first bid for votes, to run the gantlet of selfish poli- 
tics and to commit himself in advance to points of view which 
undermine his larger usefulness on the bench. It is no more il- 
liberal to ask that judges be appointed than it is to insist on the 
short ballot; than it was a generation ago to kick against the fee 
system in public offices, as the Plain Dealer did. 

In the wider field of national politics the paper stoutly advo- 
cated American membership in the League of Nations and 
American adherence to the World Court. Had the majority sus- 
tained this argument, instead of sending Warren G. Harding to 
the White House with a vote thereafter interpreted as a rejection 
of the Versailles Treaty, it is hardly to be questioned that the 
international picture in the summer and fall of 1941 would have 
been quite different from what it was. 

As the second World War got under way the Plain Dealer was 
the first big newspaper in the country to insist that America's 
place was beside Great Britain, if democracy is to be saved, and 
to urge full co-operation with the Churchill government. By 
the summer of 1940 it saw the American way of life imperiled 
by the Nazi swing across Europe. 

Under Gray the position of the Plain Dealer on the tariff issue 
was not always consistent. 6 In 1843 the paper advocated a tariff 
for revenue. 7 Three years later it hailed the ** glorious era " of 
free trade as having then commenced. 8 

By 1883 the Plain Dealer was declaring that " free trade is an 
impossibility in any country, and in this country it is absurd to 

6 A curious policy of the early Gray days urged the federal govern- 
ment to abolish the postoffices and custom houses, leaving these activities 
to private enterprise. See editorials of Septembr 16, 1850 and March 29, 

? July 26. 

8 August 4, 1846. 


think about it/' 9 But the editor who wrote in 1893 that "the 
Plain Dealer has never advocated free trade " was unfamiliar 
with his own background. 10 

Liberty E. Holden was a tariff-for-re venue Democrat, and 
after he assumed control of the paper its course was consistent 
with that traditional party policy. It criticized Tom L. Johnson 
in Congress for his advocacy of free trade. 11 It opposed the Wil- 
son tariff bill on the ground that it was in essence a free-trade 

To the income tax proposal under discussion in Congress in 
1894 the Plain Dealer objected only because it exempted in- 
comes of $4,000 and below; whereas the paper believed the 
exemption should begin at $800 or $1,000. " It is not wise," it 
said, " to build up a patrician class in this country/' 

After the first Bryan campaign the Plain Dealer never again 
advocated any but the soundest policies relative to banking 
and currency. It supported the legislation which established 
the Federal Reserve banking system and in later years resisted 
every proposal to undermine its effectiveness. 

The Plain Dealer did not advocate national prohibition or the 
adoption of the late Eighteenth Amendment. After the amend- 
ment became part of the Constitution and legislation was 
adopted to implement it, the issue became so far as the paper 
was concerned one of law enforcement, and hence entitled 
to support as long as the amendment stood. It argued for strict 
obedience to, and strict enforcement of, the prohibition legis- 

Not until it became evident to the Plain Dealer that enforce- 
ment was impossible, because public opinion was definitely 
against it, did the paper join those demanding that the amend- 
ment be repealed. 

9 January 1. 

10 September 23. 

11 January 12, 1894. 



The steadily climbing Plain Dealer finally topples its 
great rival when the Cleveland Leader suc- 
cumbs. The great circulation war. 

THE CLASSIC narrative of David and Goliath was re-enacted with 
a modern stage-setting when the Plain Dealer for years warred 
on the Cleveland Leader and finally, in August 1917, laid its 
doughty old enemy in the grave. 

Had J. W. Gray in the last years of his life been asked to name 
his fondest wish he would probably have specified the hum- 
bling of Edwin Cowles and his Leader,, which then and for 
years afterward overshadowed the local newspaper field. Had 
W. W. Armstrong been given the fulfillment of one fond dream, 
he would have named the same achievement. He would have 
looked on the defeat of the Leader as the maximum blessing any 
Plain Dealer man could ask. 

This feeling, which had become traditional long before the 
end of the century, was inherited by Liberty E. Holden and his 
associates who came into control of the Plain Dealer in the same 
year the Herald bowed itself out of the picture. The victory, 
when it came at last, was brought about through the master 
management of Elbert H. Baker after the titular three founders 
of the Plain Dealer, Gray, Armstrong, and Holden, were in their 

The Plain Dealer from its earliest days was accustomed to the 



hostility of numerous competitors. It was fought by the Herald 
for more than forty years. The Times, the National Democrat, 
and the Globe all of them Democratic warred against it. 
The True Democrat and the Daily Forest City threw hot shot 
into the Plain Dealer sanctum incessantly. The Daily Recorder, 
subsidized by Tom L. Johnson, fired invective while confessing 
itself " rather sorry for the ... antique Plain Dealer. . . .* * 

All these critics finally fell. The Plain Dealer absorbed most of 

In spite of the multiplicity of its enemies, however, and in 
spite of the unanimity of their desire to drive the Plain Dealer 
to the wall, the Plain Dealer felt bitterest toward Edwin Cowles 
and the Leader, which he had made such a conspicuous busi- 
ness and journalistic success. 2 He was the ablest and most per- 
sistent of the Plain Dealer enemies in the home field. He had 
the advantage of speaking for the political majority in the com- 
munity. All in all, he was probably the most versatile and suc- 
cessful newspaper editor northern Ohio had produced. 

Edwin Cowles died in 1890. Had he lived, the subsequent 
story of the Leader might have been different. On his death the 
control of the paper fell to hands less skilled than his own; its 
policies to the direction of men less alert to the changing situa- 
tion in the field of newspaper publication. 

One other conjecture may be slipped in at this point paren- 
thetically. Elbert H. Baker was advertising manager and a mem- 
ber of the Leader board of directors before he came to the Plain 
Dealer in 1898. He tried to interest the management of the 
Leader in policies which he later put to such effective use on the 
Plain Dealer. Had the management listened to Baker, what 
then would have been the future course of events touching the 
relative progress of the two papers? 

The Cleveland morning Leader came into existence in 1854 

1 Recorder editorial, December 21, 1895. 

2 Cowles was born at Austinburg, Ohio, September 9, 1825; died in 
Cleveland March 4, 1890. 


through the merger of the True Democrat and the Daily Forest 
City. The next year Cowles became sole owner and proprietor. 
Under his direction, unbroken for thirty-five years, the Leader 
attained a phenomenal success. 

In the Leader's estimation the Plain Dealer was a pro-slavery 
organ before the war, a copperhead sheet during the war, and 
an unreconstructed sympathizer with the South after Appo- 
mattox. The Plain Dealer looked on the Leader as an opinion- 
ated, supercilious plutocrat which lived so well on the fat of 
the land that intelligent reasoning on its part was no longer 

Such opponents and opposites were ready to fight at the drop 
of the hat. Some bone of contention was always at hand. 

For years the Leader and the Herald had challenged each 
other's circulation figures. After the passing of the Herald the 
battle of circulation claims was shifted to the Plain Dealer. 
Until the advent of Baker and Kennedy the manager who swore 
to the highest totals was the accredited winner of the skirmish. 

In the winter of 1886 circulation rivalry was forgotten mo- 
mentarily while the two Sunday papers resisted an organized 
effort of Cleveland clergymen to stop their publication as ** Sa- 
tan's latest invention." The Sunday Plain Dealer had come into 
existence on the death of the Herald. The Leader had published 
on Sunday since 1877, being the first daily in or near Cleveland 
to issue an edition on the first day of the week. 

The Plain Dealer and the Leader together resisted the effort 
of the clergy to drive the Sunday editions out of business. A 
boycott was proposed, the Plain Dealer replying that, gener- 
ously, it would not suggest a counter-boycott against the pul- 
pits. It offers a column or a column and a half each Sunday to be 
used by the clergy in any way it chooses. But, since ministers 
do not read the Sunday paper, the editor trusts that members 
of their churches will call their attention to the offer. 3 

The brief career of the Recorder, morning and evening, came 
3 March 21, 1886. 


to an end in the fall of 1897. It had been started a year or two 
before by George A. Robertson, formerly of the Plain Dealer 
staff and later a part owner of the World, and B. F. Bower. At 
the suggestion of Henry George, Lewis F. Post of New York 
was brought to Cleveland and became chief editorial writer for 
the Recorder. Tom L. Johnson undertook to make up its weekly 
deficits, hoping, as he wrote later, that the Recorder "might 
prove a truly democratic organ and thinking it might become 
self-supporting if it did not have too hard a struggle at the start." 

First and last, Johnson said, he contributed $80,000 to the en- 
terprise. In 1897 he was compelled because of financial difficul- 
ties to withdraw his support. 4 The Recorder could not stand on 
its own and before the end of the year was ready to abandon 
the field. It sold out to the Plain Dealer. By the purchase the 
Plain Dealer secured valuable equipment, but, it appears, little 
else. Post later became Assistant Secretary of Labor in the Wil- 
son administration. 

Every device honest ingenuity could conceive was enlisted to 
help the Plain Dealer gain ground against the Leader. The 
Leader by its attitude of unshakable overconfidence played into 
the hands of its opponent. 

In January 1895, under the management of Charles E. Ken- 
nedy, came the woman's edition of the Plain Dealer a week- 
day morning issue written and directed wholly by Cleveland 
women, with the help of whatever professional skill was re- 
quired. The proceeds for the day, after the deduction of neces- 
sary expenses, went to the Friendly Inn, a social settlement in- 
stitution then struggling with a troublesome budget. The idea, 
according to Kennedy, came from the women themselves, but 
the result of their labors built new prestige for the Plain Dealer. 

4 These facts are taken largely from My Story, dictated by Mr. John- 
son in the last months of his life. His subsidizing of the Recorder began 
half a dozen years prior to the time the Plain Dealer espoused him for 
mayor and adopted the pro-Johnson policy which was to continue, for 
the most part, until his death. 


Two hundred women were engaged in the task. The editor- 
in-chief for the day was Mrs. Howard M. Ingham, the managing 
editor F. Jennie Duty, the exchange editor Mrs. George A. Rob- 
ertson, and the society editor, Helen De K. Townsend. Mrs. 
Robertson was mother of the late Carl T. Robertson. Miss Town- 
send had a distinguished career as a newspaper woman in 
Cleveland and was author of the city's Blue Book, which for 
years fixed the status of all ambitious socialites. 

Sporting Editor Nettie Nelson Amsden, or one of her staff, 
had an experience which was denied her associates when some- 
one from the Cleveland Athletic Club called the department to 
say that a sparring match was scheduled for the club arena that 
afternoon and ought to be ** covered " for the morning paper. 
It was a fake event and the reporter soon sensed it, writing in 
her story that it was ** evidently got up especially for the women's 
edition of the Plain Dealer/' 

Allegedly, the bout was between Tom McGuirk of Meadville 
and Mike Murphy, a rolling-mill man from Newburg. In truth, 
the contestants were young men well known about town, handy 
with the gloves, but in no sense professionals in the ring. " One 
of the principles/* the lady reported, * greatly resembled a gen- 
tleman often seen about the Cleveland Athletic Club." He did, 
indeed, being the gentleman himself! With good acting and a 
free use of beet juice at psychological times and places, the 
affair was given the semblance of a bloody fight well calculated 
to impress an impressionable young woman reporter occupying 
a ring-side seat for the first time. Reading her very brief account, 
one is in doubt whether the joke was finally on her or on the 
promoters of the " fight" 

One of City Editor Lizzie Hyer Neff's reporters was the 
intended victim of another hoax, but was tipped off in time, only 
to see the Leader fall for the joke intended for her. Two days 
before the great edition City Clerk Howard Burgess told the 
young woman, in the presence of the Leaders City Hall re- 
porter, about plans for a grand new municipal building. The 


latter did not catch the Burgess wink intended to put him on 
guard, and he rushed the announcement into print! 

The woman's edition ran five or six times larger than the 
usual issue of the paper. It taxed the facilities of the press-room, 
and ran the day's circulation into figures familiar to the manager 
only in his dreams. 

When Julian Ralph came to Cleveland in April 1895 to write 
a story on the federal plan of government for Harpers, he ex- 
pressed surprise that the city had no official flag. Thereupon 
the Plain Dealer inaugurated a competition and offered a cash 
prize for the winning design. The city council adopted the flag 
in October, and the Plain Dealer prize went to Miss Susie E. 
Hepburn of Columbus, who later became the wife of Robert K. 
Beach of the editorial staff. The flag was first unfurled at the 
Atlanta Exposition in the presence of a large delegation of 
Clevelanders who had gone by a special train sponsored by the 
Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. 5 

The late spring of 1899 saw the Plain Dealer's promotion of 
America's first long-distance automobile run, which carried the 
name of the paper to thousands who had never heard it before. 
The Glidden tours in and out of Boston had become famous. 
Charles B. Shanks of the Plain Dealer sports staff tried to per- 
suade Glidden to undertake a tour to Cleveland. It was too far 
west, Glidden replied; roads were too uncertain. 

All right, the Plain Dealer would sponsor its own tour. Alex- 
ander Winton agreed to drive his "hydro-carbon motor car- 
riage " from Cleveland to New York, roads and circumstances 
permitting. Carrying Shanks as a passenger and reporter and, 
tucked into a pocket, a formal message of greeting from Mayor 
Farley to Mayor Van Wyck, Winton completed the journey of 
707.4 miles in 47 hours and 30 minutes, running time. The aver- 
age distance per hour was 14.5 miles. Said Farley to Van Wyck: 

The city of Cleveland sends greetings to the executive of the na- 
tion's metropolis upon the occasion of the first long-distance automo- 

5 November 11, 1895. 


bile tour ever made upon this continent. New York and Cleveland 
have been long connected by water and by rail; now they are joined 
by the horseless carriage route. 

And what a route! Of roads, in the present sense, there were 
none. Crowds greeted the adventurous tourists at every stop- 
ping place. "It is safe to say," wired Shanks to his editor, * that in 
five days' time no man ever saw and successfully steered away 
from as many stones and chuck holes as the doughty little auto- 
mobile inventor has since our departure from the Forest City."* 

Winton and Shanks left Cleveland at 6 a.m., May 21. They 
reached New York City at 5.45 p.m., May 26. 

Encouraged by the success of the New York tour, the Plain 
Dealer two years later sent Winton and Shanks on a venture 
designed to take them from San Francisco to New York, and 
make them the first men ever to cross the continent by motor 

The start was made from the California city on the morning 
of May 20, 1901. " We shot away from the cheering mass and 
our journey was begun/' Shanks reported. The Plain Dealer 
organized a contest, offering cash prizes for those best able to 
estimate the time found necessary to reach Manhattan. 

Nine days after the cheering start, the trip was abandoned in 
the sands of Nevada. On May 30 Shanks wired the office: 

Alexander Winton . . . has decided that, on account of the pres- 
ent condition of the roadways, or rather the utter absence of road- 
ways through the sand hills over this great American desert, to put 
the enterprise through successfully is an utter impossibility. . . . 

The automobile was yesterday afternoon deeply imbedded in a 
sand drift. Its driving wheels had spun around and cut deep into 
bottomless sand, so that the machine was left buried to the axles and 
there was seemingly no further use of employing block and tackle 
in pulling it from its position. 

We could have employed men and horses to get us through and 
would have come out all right, but Mr. Winton was at once and for 
all times opposed to the use of foreign power. . . . No one in the 
east can imagine what the conditions of sand are in this desert 
country. . * . 


The enterprise failed, but the Plain Dealer continued to build 
prestige. In August two years later an automobile succeeded 
in getting across the continent under its own power. The jour- 
ney required fifty-two days. 

All these activities, which might be termed extra-journalistic, 
were designed for one chief purpose only: namely, to create 
goodwill and a following for the Plain Dealer. The Leader was 
meanwhile unaware of the fact that its own grave was being 
dug by an industrious but unfeeling competitor. 

Between the time of the successful Winton tour to New York 
and the time of Winton's attempt to cross the continent without 
roads came the famous circulation war between the Plain Dealer 
and the Leader. At its conclusion it was apparent to every un- 
prejudiced person in the community that the old organ of Re- 
publicanism, built and nurtured by Edwin Cowles, was defi- 
nitely on the decline. It would live for some years yet, but its 
sun was already dropping in the western sky. 

In a heavily leaded first-page editorial in September 1900, 6 
the Leader., announcing its belief in " peace and prosperity," 
complained that " for two years past the Cleveland Plain Dealer 
has been attacking the business of the Cleveland Leader. The 
persons who operate that newspaper evidently hold that they 
cannot hope for success unless they succeed in pulling the 
Leader down. . . . The Cleveland Leader, satisfied with its 
own prosperity and willing to permit others to do business in 
their own way, has until now ignored the attacks of the Plain 

The statement was revealing as well as defiant. The Leader 
was " satisfied with its own prosperity "1 

Replying to a Leader boast that it paid $30,000 more per year 
for white paper than did the Plain Dealer, the latter proposed 
that a committee of prominent Cleveland advertisers be invited 
to examine, either in person or through expert accountants, the 

6 Septembers. 


books of the two papers covering circulation, paper costs, and 
other details of the business, the facts as found to be published 
by both papers at the end of the inquiry. 

The Leader accepted the proposal, but added eight condi- 
tions to its original terms. One of the eight contained the charge 
that " one of the properties allied with the Plain Dealer [mean- 
ing, apparently, the Hollenden Hotel] had been mortgaged for 
$500,000," the money borrowed being Standard Oil money. 
Further, the Leader insisted, if the Plain Dealer accepted these 
terms, it would prove that the Plain Dealer did not sell 15,000 
copies of its newspaper a day (morning and evening editions 
combined) and did not sell 15,000 copies on Sunday; that the 
Plain Dealer never used white paper amounting to as much as 
2,000,000 pounds in any one year; that it lost over three quarters 
of a million dollars in the last fifteen years; that it was losing 
then more than $40,000 a year. 

There were other conditions. The Plain Dealer accepted them 
all forthwith. 

Local interest in the pending expert inquiry was at high pitch. 
The Plain Dealer management, feeling sure of its ground, was 
eager for the show-down. 

But just as the committee of investigation was ready to delve 
into the books for facts which would tell the fateful story, the 
Leader suddenly withdrew from the agreement. The inquiry 
was off. Some of its larger stockholders, the Leader declared, 
objected to uncovering its business secrets to an unmannerly 

This was rare good luck for the Plain Dealer. The Leader's 
eleventh-hour renege was worth a motorized division to the 
newspaper on the offensive. A joint investigation being now im- 
possible, the Plain Dealer decided to submit its own books to 
expert auditing and to publish the result. The inquiry showed 
that for the year ending September 1, 1900 the Plain Dealer's 
average Sunday circulation was 34,859; the morning, 30,564; 
the evening, 11,439. 


In this same year the Plain Dealer had used 3,129,638 pounds 
of white paper. Further, the auditors declared, the " books . . . 
prove the paper to be making money and improving the plant 
from its receipts from circulation and advertising." 

If one compares these expert findings with the situation in the 
Plain Dealer establishment which the Leader said it would un- 
cover, relative to circulation, paper consumption, and the ques- 
tion of profit or loss, one sees how sadly uninformed the man- 
agement of the Leader really was regarding the condition of 
its pestiferous rival. By publishing these facts, comparing them 
with what the Leader had boasted an investigation would 
show, and emphasizing the Leader's refusal to let an impartial 
committee look into its own books, the Plain Dealer capitalized 
a situation made to order for its own advantage. 

From that time forth the days of the Cleveland Leader were 
numbered. For nearly seventeen years yet the paper would 
struggle on, but the community soon recognized that it was 
waging a losing battle. 

The Leader was sold to Charles A. Otis, then to Medill Me- 
Cormick, then to Dan R. Hanna. It disposed of its evening edi- 
tion, as did the Plain Dealer. It moved into a magnificent new 
home opposite the Plain Dealer Building. It employed Charles 
E. Kennedy in the hope that, experienced across the street, he 
might show it the way to a lost glory. 

But always at its heels was Elbert H. Baker, who thought 
faster, more clearly, than anyone the Leader could find; who 
sensed more accurately what a community expected of a twen- 
tieth-century newspaper, who comprehended the importance 
of leadership in the field of newspaper publication and, being a 
Western Reserve man by birth and background, was himself of 
the very warp and woof of the pattern of his community. 

Four months after the United States had entered the World 
War, came the last issue of the morning Leader. A first-page 
announcement declared: " The Cleveland Plain Dealer has pur- 
chased for a valuable consideration the subscription lists, news 


service franchise and good-will of the six-day Leader and will, 
beginning tomorrow morning, serve both its own and the six-day 
leader subscribers/* 7 

The arrangement did not affect the publication of the Sun- 
day Leader or the Cleveland News, 

The Plain Dealer was now Cleveland's only morning news- 
paper. Its position would be challenged briefly by a new morn- 
ing paper, first called the Commercial and later the Cleveland 
Times, which began publication in March 1922 and continued 
for five years. It was said to have cost its sponsors about $1,000,- 
000. The Plain Dealer bought it for $100,000,* 

No better explanation of the circumstances which led to the 
Plain Dealer's defeat of the Leader has been given than that 
offered by Town Topics, Cleveland weekly, now deceased: 

While the Leader's chief competitor was making strenuous efforts 
to build up a strong organization for the purpose of increasing its 
circulation and advertising, the Leader seemed wholly oblivious of 
this effort. It never for a moment seemed to think it could be headed 
off in this race for newspaper leadership. When finally it did come to 
comprehend the seriousness of the situation, it was too late. It was 
already in second place and, though it employed high-salaried news- 
paper men to stem the tide, it took outsiders who didn't seem to have 
quite the understanding of the city to turn out the right kind of read- 
ing matter. While its competitor moderated its political editorials 
and adopted a somewhat independent stand in politics, the Leader 
adhered to its hidebound policy of political partisanship. 

Here was the epitaph of a once great and widely influential 
newspaper. It had slept while the enemy toiled! 

7 August 21, 1917. The " valuable consideration," Charles E. Kennedy 
wrote in his Fifty Years of Cleveland, was the payment by the Plain 
Dealer Publishing Co. to the Cleveland Co., publisher of the Leader, of 
the sum of $750,000. 

8 It was a common report that the late 0. P. Van Sweringen, after 
seeking in vain to buy the Plain Dealer, became a substantial stockholder 
in the Commercial. 



Scores of trained newspaper workers, most of them hardly 

'known outside their own offices, devote their lives to 

Plain Dealer success. A few of them named. 

He was an encyclopedia of the world's work, and especially of 
political history and events. By intuition he seemed to catch the 
motives, the underlying forces of all political movements. Every poli- 
tician, every statesman, were actors in the drama of political life, 
and he was in attendance at their rehearsals. He knew their ins and 
outs. He knew their affiliations. . . . Few men were ever endowed 
with a better historical mind. " Large was his bounty and his soul 
sincere. . . ? 

THUS wrote Liberty Emery Holden of John Herbert Aloysius 
Bone, 1 two and a half years his senior, on the occasion of the 
latte/s death in the fall of 1906. Forgotten was the incident of 
1893 when Mr. Holden, chief owner of the paper, deposed Mr. 
Bone from the chief editorship because he was dissatisfied with 
the editorials he wrote. 

J. H. A. Bone was outstanding among the men who, after the 
establishment of the morning and Sunday editions, helped build 
the paper into the confidence and the everyday life of its com- 
munity. He was one of the " assets " of the Cleveland Herald 
taken over by the Plain Dealer in 1885. He remained an asset for 

1 Born in Cornwall, England, October 31, 1830; died in Cleveland 
September 17, 1906. 


the remaining twenty-one years of his life, an active newspaper 
mar almost to his last day. 

This son of Britain was intended for an army career, but an 
injury to his arm necessitated adoption of another pursuit, and 
journalism in America was enriched by the change. As a youth 
he did newspaper work in London and Liverpool. Going to 
Cleveland in 1851, he soon found himself sending unsolicited 
articles to the Herald, then Cleveland's most thriving and at- 
tractive daily. Six years later, on Editor Josiah A. Harris's invi- 
tation, Bone joined the Herald staff. Thereafter for practically 
half a century no publication day passed without contributions 
from this prolific, incisive writer. 

In spite of the exactions of a daily newspaper routine, Bone 
found time to indulge in purely literary labor and his articles 
were to be found frequently in the Knickerbocker Magazine, 
Godeifs, Peterson's, and other popular periodicals of the day. 
He was on intimate terms of friendship with James Russell 
Lowell, spending days as his guest at Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts. He was frequently urged to join the literary colony which 
included Longfellow, Aldrich, Emerson, and others whose 
names are familiar in the bookish annals of that flowering time 
of American literature. 

But Bone preferred Cleveland to Cambridge. To him litera- 
ture was an avocation. The smell of printer's ink and the noise 
of rumbling presses were pleasanter to him than the praises of 
literary critics. A collection of poems, written at moments of 
relaxation from newspaper duties, was issued in a small volume 
now long out of print. For the most part his work, aside from 
the daily routine, consisted of essays and articles on literary 
and historical subjects now to be found only in crumbling files 
of old publications. 

Mr. Bone at one time or another filled virtually every posi- 
tion on the editorial staff of the Herald, from reporter of com- 
mercial facts to editor-in-chief. Coming to the Plain Dealer 
when the Herald suspended publication, an experienced and 


well-known journalist, he soon became its editor. As a Plain 
Dealer man, however, he did his best work as chief editorial 
writer and as literary editor, continuing these duties almost to 
the end of a painful illness. When physically unable to come to 
the office any longer, he wrote daily from his death-bed and sent 
his articles by messenger. 

His daughter, Estelle J. Bone, was one of the first news- 
paper women to be regularly employed in Cleveland. 2 She 
came to the Plain Dealer in 1886 and edited a household de- 

In the first years of the Baker-Kennedy management there 
came to the Plain Dealer fresh from Oberlin College a young 
man who was to make his mark in another field, but one closely 
related to newspapers. He was John M. Siddall. 3 He left the 
Plain Dealer after three years. He died in the prime of his use- 
fulness as editor of the American Magazine. 

Siddall began his connection with the Plain Dealer as college 
correspondent in his undergraduate days. He worked as a sum- 
mer vacation member of the staff in Cleveland. Upon his gradu- 
ation in 1898 he found his career pretty definitely marked out 
for him. He loved to write and found pleasure in directing 
the writing efforts of others. Ben Allen owed his first job on the 
paper to SiddalFs friendship and assiduous watching from the 
inside for an opportunity for him. 

Leaving the Plain Dealer in 1901, Siddall became associate 
editor of the Chautauquan, then published in Cleveland. He 
left this to become private secretary to Starr Cadwalader, di- 
rector of the Cleveland public schools. He came into personal 
contact with the magazine world when Ida M. Tarbell came to 
Cleveland to gather material for her History of the Standard 

2 Born in Cleveland November 5, 1852; died in Cleveland December 
13, 1925. 

3 Born at Oberlin, Ohio, October 8, 1874; died at Ardsley-on-Hudson, 
New York, July 16, 1923. 


Oil Company, which was published in McClure's Magazine. 
She was referred to Siddall as one likely to be interested in her 

This chance acquaintance led to SiddalFs leaving Cleveland 
in 1904 to join the staff of McClures Magazine. Two years later 
he joined a group of McClure's writers to found the American 
Magazine. He became its editor-in-chief in 1915. The publica- 
tion prospered greatly, increasing its circulation from 400,000 to 
2,000,000 in the eight years of his editorship. His brief, inspira- 
tional editorials under the caption " Sid Says " were welcomed 
as the emanations of a mind fresh from the sources of American 
life and unspoiled by contact with a selfish world. 

** Every individual," said Siddall, * is more interested in him- 
self than in anything else in the world." Sticking to that theme, 
he made the American Magazine outstanding among the 
monthlies. Dying before he was fifty, he was mourned as one 
who had made for himself a permanent niche in the world of 
magazine publication. 

When SiddalFs college class celebrated its twenty-fifth re- 
union, the Americans editor was chosen for special distinction 
by the trustees. He was voted an honorary degree in token of his 
achievements. But when the time came to confer the honor, 
Siddall was too ill to attend. It was granted in absentia. In the 
following month he died. 

Three Weidenthals, brothers, have been identified with the 
Plain Dealer in this period. The oldest, Maurice, 4 came to the 
paper from the Herald when it suspended publication in 1885, 
and held various posts of responsibility before he retired in 1906 
to become first editor of the newly established Jewish Independ- 
ent in Cleveland. The second brother was Henry J., 5 who began 
his newspaper career with the Plain Dealer but spent the last 

4 Born at Miskolcz, Hungary, October 5, 1853; died in Cleveland 
July 21, 1917. 

5 Born in Cleveland February 2, 1870; died in Cleveland July 8, 1940. 


years of it with the News. Leo, the third brother, left the Plain 
Dealer in 1917 to succeed his brother as editor of the Independ- 
ent. The Cleveland city council by resolution expressed its 
regret at his leaving. 

A chance circumstance helped William Sykes Couch 6 climb 
fast from cubdom to a high journalistic position. That he would 
have ultimately attained the position anyway, one need not 

Working his way through Western Reserve University, he 
was graduated in 1900 and came immediately to the Plain 
Dealer reportorial staff. In September 1901 word came over the 
wire from Buffalo that President McKinley had been shot. A 
special train was quickly assembled by Senator Hanna to take 
friends to the bedside. The city editor found that young Couch 
was the only man immediately available to send on the Hanna 

He did so well on this assignment, difficult for an inexperi- 
enced man, that Couch was recognized at once as a rising star 
in newspaperdom. In 1902 there was a vacancy in the Columbus 
news bureau and Couch was named to fill it. A year later he 
was promoted to head the bureau at Washington. 

Couch won recognition there as a keen observer and intelli- 
gent interpreter of the events which featured the administration 
of the first Roosevelt, and the first year of the Taft regime. He 
was a man of many friendships, widely respected and admired. 
He left the Plain Dealer in the summer of 1909. 

He was succeeded at Columbus and again at Washington by 
Ben F. Allen. 

A brilliant career in the service of the Plain Dealer came to a 
tragic end when in the fall of 1919 a motor car overturned on 
the Columbia Highway near Portland, Oregon. The accident 
took the life of "Big Ben " Allen Benjamin Farwell Allen, to 

6 Born at Madison, Ohio, May 18, 1878; died in Washington, D. C., 
January 11, 1914. 


give him his baptismal name head of the paper's news bureau 
at Washington. 

Few men in the long history of the Plain Dealer have re- 
flected greater credit on the paper than he. The deaths of few 
have been more widely noted or more sincerely mourned. The 
press gallery at the Capitol said of Allen: " Brilliant, energetic, 
human, an able commentator upon public events, a faithful re- 
porter of world-moving affairs, he adorned our profession and 
made it a greater one." 

Ben Allen, son of a Congregational minister, came to the 
Plain Dealer from Oberlin in 1899. 7 After working as political 
reporter in Cleveland, he became Columbus correspondent in 
1907 and Washington correspondent two years later. He had 
been a star baseball pitcher at college, and keeping his eye on 
the bases was a habit he carried into newspaper reporting as 
long as he lived. " More than six feet tall," a friend once said of 
Allen, " he was as big of heart as he was of body.* 7 

Allen served his paper at the national capital through most 
of the Taft administration; he saw the advent of Wilson, the 
great reform measures of the Democratic regime, witnessed and 
interpreted the rising tide of war sentiment, cheered the Amer- 
ican boys as they advanced to the poppy fields of France and 
saw those who survived come back. He sympathized with Wil- 
son in his losing fight for the League of Nations, reflecting his 
paper's support of the President on that issue. 

Death came to Ben Allen as, following his tour of duty, he 
accompanied Mr. Wilson on his swing into the West to carry 
his appeal for the League over the heads of senators to the folk 
back home. The journey failed to save the cause of the League; 
it cost the newspaper corps at Washington one of its ablest 
members; it ended in the tragedy of Woodrow Wilson's col- 
lapse and the beginning of his end as a leader of American 

In his wire of condolence to Mrs. Allen, the President de- 

7 Born at Alpena, Michigan, September 26, 1877; died at Portland, 
Oregon, September 15, 1919. 


clared her husband would be ** missed as a true friend and a 
man who always intelligently sought to do his duty." As an 
interpreter, observing and reporting events from the vantage 
point of the nation's capital, Ben Allen served his paper and its 
community through a decade of fast-moving and vastly impor- 
tant events. A warm personality brought him a host of friends. 
Ben F. Allen belongs in the galaxy of Plain Dealer men 
worthy to be considered among its builders. 

From the Columbus Dispatch to the Plain Dealer in 1892 
came Edward B. Lilley, 8 who for a dozen years under the 
Baker-Kennedy regime was its managing editor. Under him 
served Erie C. Hopwood, who became editor of the paper nine 
years after Lilley left, and Paul Bellamy, Hopwood's successor 
in the chief editorship. 

In the days when the Plain Dealer had but a single telephone 
on the fourth floor of the old building, Lilley was an editorial 
writer and had the duty of calling up L. E. Holden at night and 
reading him his output for the day. News editors and reporters 
were thus privileged to have read in their presence the opin- 
ions their paper would express in print the next morning. It 
was said by those who later recalled the situation that they 
enjoyed the nightly drama better than Lilley did. 

He left the Plain Dealer in August 1911 to become editor and 
publisher of the Cleveland News, then owned by Charles A. 
Otis. Upon the sale of the News to Hanna in 1912, Lilley be- 
came managing editor of the Los Angeles Express and Tribune, 
and was later assistant to the publisher of those papers. Later 
he went to St. Louis as general manager of the St. Louis Repub- 
lic. The end of his life came on a California ranch to which he 
had retired in 1917 in an effort to recover his health. 

8 Born at Paris, Illinois, September 15, 1866; died at Ontario, Cali- 
fornia, July 24, 1920. A son, Charles J. Lilley, is editor and general man- 
ager of the Sacramento (California) Union. A grandson, Merrill Edward 
Lilley, is editor of the Post-Dispatch at Pittsburg, California. 


For years before his death in the winter of 1927 William Rus- 
sell Rose was proud to carry the title of dean of Cleveland news- 
paper men. 9 He came to the Plain Dealer in 1896 at the invita- 
tion of Manager Charles E. Kennedy, having already had some 
years of experience, first on the Sunday Voice and later with 
the Cleveland Press. 

It is related that " Bob " Paine, popular editor of the Press, 
hailed Rose on the street one day and said: " Billy, you have 
been printing facetious remarks about our editorials. If you 
think you can write better ones, let me see *ein." Rose did so 
and remained with the Press until, as an experiment, the edi- 
torial page was abolished. Not long thereafter he came to the 
Plain Dealer. 

He performed a variety of editorial tasks, wrote editorials, 
conducted a column of comment and humor, and every Sunday 
for decades wrote a fictional piece which attracted wide atten- 
tion. He sat in at the making of much Cleveland and Western 
Reserve history and with his pen helped preserve the annals of 
a region rich in historic lore. 

The title of editor of the Plain Dealer, unused for many years, 
was revived in 1920 and given to Erie C. Hopwood. 10 Few men 
ever brought to the Plain Dealer greater gifts than he, and none 
ever made greater use of his gifts to the glory of newspaper- 
making in Ohio. 

Erie Hopwood was thoroughly a product of the Western 
Reserve. Born of parents indigenous to the region, he was edu- 
cated there and, except for one brief year when he taught school 
at Middletown, spent his whole life on the soil of the old 
Reserve. His eminence as a newspaper man was recognized in 

9 Born at Ithaca, New York, September 12, 1851; died in Cleveland 
February 16, 1927. 

10 Born at North Eaton, Ohio, February 7, 1877; died in Cleveland 
March 18, 1928. 


1936, eight years after his death, by his election to the Hall of 
Fame at Ohio State University. 11 

Starting as a police reporter under City Editor William R. 
Merrick in 1902, Hopwood climbed steadily through the ranks 
to become in turn city editor, night editor, managing editor, 
and finally editor of the paper. With him newspaper work was 
a passion as well as a job. By hard work and exacting self -disci- 
pline, he had won his diploma with high scholastic standing at 
Western Reserve University. By the same means he climbed the 
journalistic ladder to its top. He spared himself no pains. Hours 
meant nothing to him. Always he studied to prepare himself 
for the job just ahead. 

Hopwood was a graduate of the Elbert H. Baker school. He 
put into practice through many years the principles Baker 
taught: news without editorial bias, clean news, civic responsi- 
bility, the importance of sound leadership, the high place a self- 
respecting newspaper should occupy in its community. He had 
business sense as well as editorial sense, realizing that the 
modern editor has a wider obligation than merely to write in- 
cisive English or keep the news-gathering organization on its 

After his reportorial days Hopwood did little actual writing 
for the paper. The words written were the words of other men, 
but the ideals that shone through them were his. He was an 
organizer, an executive, as well as a student of public issues. 
Men respected his judgment and came from afar to confer with 
him on issues of grave importance. 

When Dr. O. W. Thompson resigned as president of Ohio 
State University Hopwood was given serious consideration as 
his successor. One of the trustees sent an emissary to the editor. 
Hopwood, while appreciating the compliment, said he preferred 
to remain as editorial chief of the Plain Dealer. 

11 Two other Plain Dealer men are members of the Hall of Fame: 
Artemus Ward, admitted in 1931, and Elbert H. Baker, admitted in 1938, 


He was one of the small group which organized the American 
Society of Newspaper Editors, serving in succession as its secre- 
tary and president. He was one of the early presidents of the 
Cleveland City Club, an organization widely famous as a forum 
for the uncensored discussion of public questions. To every pro- 
posal for the strengthening of democratic institutions he gave 
time from busy days and help from a generous heart which 
beat in sympathy with every just cause. 

His death at fifty-one brought forth such a volume of appre- 
ciative comment from the leaders of American thought as is 
given only to those who have truly achieved great things. In any 
appraisal of the scores of men who have made the Plain Dealer 
what it has become in these hundred momentous years, Erie 
Clark Hopwood merits a resplendent place. He set his life's 
goals high and while still in die prime of manhood saw them 

For thirty-seven years George V. Callahan 12 served the Plain 
Dealer as marine editor, achieving a distinction the like of which 
no other man along the lakes ever attained. In pre-radio days 
news of the movements of vessels up and down this inland sea 
came largely by telegraph and newspaper publication and was 
of prime importance to thousands. As business on the lakes 
grew, Callahan grew with it, keeping a finger on this vast check- 
erboard of commerce. His name and the fame of his exact and 
understanding reporting were familiar from one end of the chain 
to the other. 

"Skipper" Callahan well earned his reputation, acknowl- 
edged by one of the high officials of the M. A. Hanna Company 
at tibe time of Callahan's death, as " the best marine reporter on 
the Great Lakes/* 

12 Born in Cleveland January 19, 1865; died in Cleveland February 
23, 1932, 


One of the most widely known of Plain Dealer men in the 
first third of the century was Carl Trowbridge Robertson, 13 
associate editor, nature-lover, traveler, and teller of romantic 
tales of many lands. His love for newspaper work and his apti- 
tude for it came by inheritance, for his father, George A. Rob- 
ertson, spent his life among the editorial desks of Cleveland. 
His mother wrote much for newspapers and was one of the edi- 
tors of the Plain Dealers woman's edition in 1895. 

A Central High School and Harvard College product, Rob- 
ertson did his first newspaper work on the Cleveland Recorder, 
which his father had founded in co-operation with B. F. Bower. 
The following year found him a reporter on the Plain Dealer, 
and with this paper he remained till the end of a fruitful life. 

For many years a steady stream of editorials poured from his 
desk, covering every phase of American life. Latterly he turned 
his attention to foreign affairs. Great numbers of men and 
women of European extraction in Cleveland constantly showed 
their appreciation of his sympathetic interpretations of the 
problems of their home lands. During the World War, too old 
for the service of his country, he kept in close touch with de- 
velopments abroad through four long, bloody years and in scores 
of columns of comment helped Plain Dealer readers to under- 
stand world-shaking events on the other side of the sea. 

Robertson was best beloved, however, for the inquisitive, 
adventurous spirit which led him to many lands and found 
expression in gems of writing that for years lightened the pages 
of the Plain Dealer. No secret of nature was so seemingly trivial 
as not to excite his interest. His " daily diary," started at the 
suggestion of Erie C. Hopwood, ran on the editorial page to 
the delight of thousands. 

This middle-aged man who crawled on hands and knees in 
the stillness of midnight to study insect songsters was not con- 
tent with Mammoth Cave as tourists had known it for years, 

13 Bora at North Bloomfield, Ohio, January 31, 1876; died at Rabat, 
Morocco, June 2, 1935, 


but wiggled through an inconspicuous aperture in the cave's 
wall to discover new glories beyond, which no human eye had 
ever before beheld. This newly discovered section of the cave 
was kter opened to tourists and bears the name of Robertson, 
as its discoverer. This adventurous spirit led him to join the ex- 
pedition sent out by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History 
in 1923, which took him across the Atlantic to Cape Verde in 
the 130-ton schooner, the Blossom. There, because of ill health, 
Robertson left the expedition, returning to Cleveland. 

Robertson was ever a restless soul. The monotony of daily 
routine got on his nerves. Distant places, other continents, 
whispered in his ear invitations he found hard to resist. In 
one series of articles after another, written in the excellent Eng- 
lish he had at command, he described for admiring readers trips 
he had taken abroad. Classic tales of history he retold in his own 
vibrant words and made their famous actors live again. 

Next to travel and exploration, whist and later auction and 
contract bridge were Robertson's wannest attachments. He 
became one of America's best players and the trophies he won 
as a member of Cleveland teams reached a surprising total. 
And with all these activities as avocations, Carl Robertson main- 
tained a daily output of editorials and at times of literary criti- 
cism that would have kept the average man busy. 

He died, as doubtless he would have chosen to die, far from 
the scene of his office labors, on a new journey of adventure into 
the lands of historic romance. Death came to him suddenly. 
Today in Moorish Africa lies the body of one whose boyish in- 
terest in the affairs of nature and of man never grew dull. 

To meet their country's call in four wars Plain Dealer men 
have left their desks, donned uniforms, and fought for liberty. 
Not one of them was more a soldier, or a better one, than Lieu- 
tenant Colonel William Cooper Howells. 14 He came from a 

14 Born at Jefferson, Ohio, November 16, 1887; died at McConnells- 
ville, Ohio, April 3, 1940, 


newspaper family, was a grand-nephew of the novelist William 
Dean Howells, and though intended for the medical profession, 
found the inherited trend too strong to resist. He came to the 
Plain Dealer as a reporter in 1909, became Sunday editor, and 
for fifteen years was head of the Plain Dealer news bureau at 
Columbus. He served as a lieutenant of infantry on the Mexican 
border, and as captain on the fields of France. Later he attained 
the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Ohio National Guard. His 
last few years were spent in the home office, performing the 
tasks of an associate editor. His body lies among the nation's 
honored dead in Arlington. 

When James H. Rogers 15 retired in 1932 to spend his remain- 
ing days in California, the occasion was given civic significance. 
For seventeen years he had been musical critic for the Plain 
Dealer. For fifty years he had been organist and musical direc- 
tor at the Euclid Avenue Temple. 

And while attending to these duties he had taught innumer- 
able classes in piano, composed musical works that remain 
classics, and made himself, without the slightest ostentation, a 
leader of cultural life in the community. 

When Rogers at the age of seventy-five decided to drop 
activities which were becoming burdensome with advancing 
years, the expression of the city's regret at his departure, trans- 
lated into farewell dinners and less formal good-by parties, con- 
stituted such a tribute of respect as is given to few in any walk 
of life. Religious, educational, and political leaders united in 
the chorus of praise. 

The Plain Dealer probably never had a more popular staff 
member than James H. Rogers. 

15 Born at Fair Haven, Connecticut, February 7, 1857; died at Pasa- 
dena, California, November 28, 1940. 



The Plain Dealer's greatest asset is the loyalty of those 

who get out the paper each day. The Old 

Timers. The Beneficial Association. 

WITHOUT complete loyalty on the part of the men and women 
who comprise its editorial, business, and mechanical staffs the 
Plain Dealer would not have lived to observe its centenary. 
Without such loyalty no paper can in the long run achieve suc- 
cess. The men in the ranks give the general his victory. 

The Plain Dealer has, of course, deliberately cultivated this 
loyalty and encouraged the spirit of co-operation now so widely 
acknowledged as the hall-mark of its daily performance. Those 
long in the paper's employ carry the fact as a badge of distinc- 

Through the years the Plain Dealer has had a minimum of 
labor troubles. The management has been fair with employees 
and they have reciprocated with fair treatment in return. 

This same policy of square dealing has extended through all 
departments. The necessary great expansion of personnel has 
not altered the policy. The doors of those in authority are always 
open even to the humblest worker with a complaint to make or 
a suggestion to offer. 

The result is a " happy family ** atmosphere about the Plain 
Dealer establishment often noted by office visitors from out of 
Cleveland. It follows, of course, that the paper suffers a com- 



paratively small turnover of employment. Good pay, job secu- 
rity, and pleasant surroundings combine to urge employees to 

Modern conditions tend to stabilize newspaper employment 
everywhere. The " tramp printer " has become an extinct spe- 
cies. The " tramp " reporter and the " tramp * advertising solici- 
tor have joined him in permanent eclipse. Papers like the Plain 
Dealer were instrumental in hastening the discard of the 
" tramps/' When men cling to their jobs as something worth 
working to retain, there is little chance for the fly-by-night. 

Plain Dealer employees feel that they belong to a sort of in- 
formal brotherhood, bound together by common ideals of serv- 
ice. Once well established, they know their employment is per- 
manentpermanent, that is, as long as they meet the fair 
requirements of their individual jobs. 

Daily association of men with each other develops fraternal 
feeling and the wish to do things in partnership. In this the 
heads of the institution have given every proper assistance. 

An example is seen in the Plain Dealer Beneficial Association, 
organized by employees in September 1907. It originally pro- 
vided only a sick benefit. A small weekly payment insured each 
member against the economic loss resulting from accident or ill- 

The scope of the organization was broadened in January 
1920, and for the first time the Plain Dealer Publishing Com- 
pany took official cognizance of it. A death benefit was added 
and the company agreed to pay into the treasury of the associa- 
tion dollar for dollar with the association members' own contri- 

The plan has worked exceedingly well. Every claim has been 
paid promptly. Many a widow of a Plain Dealer employee has 
found this a great and instant help at the moment when her 
little world seemed in collapse about her. The Beneficial Asso- 
ciation is officered entirely by employees. Its membership had 
risen in the summer of 1941 to 774. There were then 954 Plain 


Dealer men and women working In the Plain Dealer Building, 
not all of whom, however, were eligible for membership. 1 

Famous is the Plain Dealers Old Timers Club, whose annual 
dinner and business meeting have become a local event in 
Cleveland. It is a loose organization without governing rules or 
by-laws. All expenses of the yearly occasion are borne by the 
paper itself a compliment paid the employees by the owners 
and management. 

To become eligible for membership one must have been a 
Plain Dealer employee for at least twenty years. At the organ- 
ization meeting on November 25, 1924 forty-four of the forty- 
five charter members were present. In the summer of 1941 
thirteen of these forty-four were still active members of the 
organization and on the payroll of the paper. Others who were 
at that first meeting have been retired or have left the service 
of the Plain Dealer. 

The men and women who attended the organization meet- 
ing were conscious of the fact, as was the management, that 
they were taking a step without any exact precedent. The years 
since have demonstrated the wisdom of the move. It has helped 
cement the friendly relations among the scores of employees 
privileged to be members. 

The first president of the Old Timers was the late Erie C. 
Hopwood. Of the five officers elected at the first meeting only 
one survives. He is William G. Vorpe, now dean of the staff and 
active as Sunday and feature editor. Except for one year, when 
he served as president, he has remained secretary of the club 
ever since that first meeting. 

Each year, at noon on a winter day, the Old Timers gather 
for dinner, witness some mock device for admitting new mem- 
bers, listen to a skit, a program of entertainment, or rarely in 
recent years an address. Radio stars, ordinarily known only 
by voice through the channels of the air, come in person to pay 

1 Some are part-time workers; some have not yet worked the month 
required by the constitution before they become eligible. 


professional homage to the press. The popular floor shows about 
town contribute their share to an occasion as unique as it is 

Owners and managers of the paper invariably attend. The 
lowliest employee eats with the bosses. Salary or wage distinc- 
tions are forgotten. The Old Timers are dedicated to fellowship. 
Their only pledge, made on admission, is to stand by each other 
and to give the best they have to the success of the Plain Dealer. 

It would be difficult to find a situation parallel with this of 
the Plain Dealer Old Timers. For an institution of the size of 
this newspaper to have more than one fifth of its employees 
veterans of more than twenty years 7 service speaks of conscien- 
tious co-operation on both sides. The paper has been loyal to its 
men and women, and they to it, all these years. The Old Timers 
organization had reached a total membership of 206 in 1941. 

Elsewhere has been witnessed strife, recrimination, acts and 
gestures of hostility, but the big Plain Dealer family has, for the 
most part, dwelt together in harmony. The years of its individ- 
ual members 7 service to the paper speak with the tongue of elo- 
quence of obligations met and satisfaction earned. 

In the list of members are found the names of the president of 
the Plain Dealer Publishing Company, its secretary-treasurer, 
its general manager, and the editor of the paper. Also one finds 
the names of women whose service to the paper is identified 
with the early morning rite of scrubbing the offices and corri- 
dors of the building. 

The Plain Dealer's concern for its employees goes far be- 
yond its contribution to the Beneficial Association and beyond 
its financing of the annual dinner of the Old Timers. It follows 
them into retirement. It intercedes with fate to see that the man 
or woman who has given his best to the paper through years of 
active endeavor is not left friendless in the few years which 
remain to him. 

Years ago the Plain Dealer established what is called the " re- 
tired payroll/* To this roll, with a continuing weekly payment 


adequate to his requirements, an employee no longer able to 
render a full measure of service is graciously transferred. Usu- 
ally, in the case of one who has given many years to the paper, 
the occasion of his retirement is made ceremonious, with the 
executives participating. 

He joins the " alumni/* does what he wishes with his new- 
found leisure, and knows that back among the boys his mem- 
ory is green. 

Twenty-three former employees comprise the " retired pay- 
roll " as these lines are written in the summer of 1941. They are, 
in effect, members of the great Plain Dealer family enjoying 
a well-earned leave of absence. 

Another token of the paper's interest in its employees and its 
wish to help make them good citizens as well as faithful work- 
ers is to be seen in a policy, established more than twenty years 
ago, of loaning money to individual employees to help them 
build homes. By a vote of the directors in March 1921 the board 
committed itself to the lending policy. Prior to that, three such 
transactions had already been entered into. All are second mort- 
gage loans, repayable in installments made low enough not to 
be burdensome. There are now between twenty and thirty such 
contracts outstanding. 

The result of the policy has been encouraging from the point 
of view of both the borrower and the lender. There has been 
practically no loss. The benefits of home-ownership have been 
brought within reach of men who might not otherwise have 
been able to realize them. 

No taint of paternalism mars this relationship between the 
Plain Dealer and the men and women who contribute to its 
success. In this as in any other field of activity, a person takes 
out in benefits and satisfaction about what he puts in. The re- 
wards for sincere and genuine service rendered through the 
years is security and contentment at life's twilight. 

The Plain Dealer, in friendly co-operation with its hundreds 
of employees, tries to contribute to the achievement of this goal. 


The results speak for themselves. They need neither interpreter 
nor eulogist. 

Men who idly argue that the corporate form of enterprise in 
America necessarily lends itself to heartlessness, to indifference 
to human rights, to inescapable abuses, to injustice and em- 
ployee dissatisfaction, may learn something by a study of the 
Plain Dealer. Here is evidence to support the thesis that fan- 
dealing between employer and employee, continuous through 
many years, brings the coveted reward to both. 

Plain Dealer men and women are proud of their association 
with each other and with those who carry the burdens of man- 
agement. The fact that the paper is owned by a corporation, 
chartered by the state, concerns them not at all. 



Contrasts in methods of war reporting epitomize 

the progress of newspaper work in general. 

The guess gives way to the know. 

AMERICA has engaged in four wars since the founding of the 
Plain Dealer one hundred years ago. This takes no account of 
the conflict raging abroad in 1941, into which the United States 
is in imminent prospect of being drawn as these lines are written. 

A study of how these wars were covered in the news sense 
how Plain Dealer readers were kept in touch with the events of 
the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, 
and the World War reveals interesting contrasts in news- 
gathering methods and facilities between the then and the now 
of journalism. 

The Plain Dealer as a daily was one year old when the war 
on Mexico began in April 1846. It was a ** Democratic war ** and 
Editor Gray gave it cordial support. The Cleveland Herald, 
being Whig, took the general Whig attitude of opposition. It 
was, in the opinion of Proprietor J. A. Harris, a war of inexcus- 
able aggression, for which President Polk and the pro-slavery 
interests were solely responsible. 

For the Cleveland newspapers the task of keeping patrons 
informed of the progress of developments below the Rio Grande 
was difficult and often inadequately performed. The Plain 

35 1 


Dealer and the Herald alike had access to whatever the " mag- 
netic telegraph " offered, but this was often composed of con- 
jecture, of reports frankly questioned, and always of events 
which had occurred days before the news of them reached 

Mexican news in general came by steamer to New Orleans 
or Mobile and was then sent by railroad or other means to the 
nearest telegraph station. Cleveland's wire connection with the 
rest of the country was by a single line from Pittsburgh. Some 
of the Eastern newspapers had correspondents at the front, 
but they were handicapped by a lack of facilities for getting 
their dispatches to the home offices. The Cleveland papers 
could not afford such correspondents. 

Supplementing the scant and usually delayed reports by wire, 
were letters by mail, sometimes to the editors but often to rela- 
tives at home who were occasionally thoughtful enough to per- 
mit some favorite newspaper to print them for the information 
they contained. 

Eastern cities had the benefit of rail communication part way 
to the scene of war. As for Cleveland, the first spadeful of earth 
was taken from the right of way of the city's first railroad two 
weeks after the fall of Mexico City and the virtual end of the 

Even with the better facilities of the Eastern cities, the news 
from the battlefields of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma re- 
quired eighteen days to reach New York. The fall of the Mexi- 
can capital came on September 14, 1847. The Plain Dealer and 
the Herald announced the victory on October 4 in a paragraph 
whose circumlocutory phraseology was characteristic of Mexi- 
can War reporting, as seen in Cleveland: 

Cincinnati, Oct. 2, 8 P.M. 

A note from the Post Master at New Orleans to Post Master in 
Washington, dated the 26 ult, states that the steamer J. L. Day had 
arrived from Vera Cruz, bringing news that the City of Mexico had 
been taken. 


On the same day the Plain Dealer gave bigger news play to 
an item relative to the ending of an armistice which had given 
the fighting men at the front a brief breathing-spell. The dis- 
patch here quoted was credited to the Pittsburgh Journal: 

At a very late hour last night the following highly important intel- 
ligence was telegraphed via Richmond 

Philadelphia, Sept. 30, 10 P.M. 

An extra from the office of the Mobile Tribune, dated Sept. 25th, 
received by Pony Express, announces the arrival at Pensacola of the 
Brig Osceola on the evening of the 21st after a passage of five days 
from Vera Cruz. The following is an extract of a letter of the Sun of 
Anahuac, dated Pueblo Sept llth. . . . 

Then follows the substance of the news; namely, that the 
armistice had been ended and the fighting resumed. And this 
was printed in Cleveland three weeks after the fall of the 
enemy capital! 

As if to assure its readers that the news of Mexico City's fall 
was reliable, the Plain Dealer two weeks later remarked: " That 
Gen. Scott with from 7,000 to 10,000 men is now in possession 
of the City of Mexico, nobody doubts. . . ." 1 

Sometimes the war news came in the way indicated by this 
paragraph from the Cleveland Herald: 

We copy from the Washington Union a letter from an officer who 
participated in the bloody battles before the City of Mexico which 
presents, says the Union, the most graphic and correct details we 
have seen. . . . 2 

As was customary, the name of the officer and recorder of 
history was not given. 

In die fourteen years between the Mexican War and the Civil 
War railroads and the telegraph stretched farther and farther 
across the country; the Atlantic cable had been laid, but after 
a short time failed to work. The Associated Press had been or- 

1 October 18, 1847. 

2 Herald, September 22, 1847. 


ganized on a small scale by a group of New York publishers. 
Metropolitan papers, waxing strong, had corps of correspond- 
ents ready to follow the armies to every battlefield. 

By 1860 there were 29,000 miles of railroads in operation and 
pioneer lines were pushing toward the Pacific coast. Telegraph 
lines had reached a total mileage of 50,000. 

The stage was set for a far better performance of war report- 
ing than had been possible when Scott and Taylor marched into 
Mexico. The performance was, of course, much improved. It 
was unsatisfactory only when compared with the news coverage 
given in later wars. 

By I860, foreseeing or guessing at the events of the next five 
years, practically every one of the New York papers maintained 
a staff of special correspondents in the South. The opinion has 
been expressed that, as a result largely of their reporting, when 
the outbreak of the war came the North had a far better idea 
of what went on in the Southern mind than did the South of 
the Northern mind. Except for this the course of history might 
have been changed. 

When war came these correspondents were trained and ready 
to take the field with the Union armies. They strove against 
censors, against thin-skinned commanders, against inadequate 
rail and telegraph facilities, to do what, in the retrospect, must 
be considered a pretty efficient job. 

This kind of service, however, was not for the newspapers 
of Cleveland. Even the Leader, riding high in a radically pro- 
war community, had not reached the opulence which seemed to 
justify the employment of a staff of correspondents with the 
armies. The Plain Dealer after May 1862 was under the control 
of John S. Stephenson, who, finally turning his back on the 
war policy of his uncle, J. W. Gray, led the paper gradually into 
public disfavor. The Plain Dealer, under such circumstances, 
certainly could not sustain the luxury of having its own special 
correspondents at the front. 

As early as the winter of 1862 the Leader boasted that it was 


the only paper in the Western states, outside of Cincinnati and 
Chicago, which procured special reports from Washington. It 
printed parallel columns to show how it beat the Plain Dealer 
and the Herald with news of the war. 3 

The Plain Dealer ridicules its contemporary's ** stupendous 
enterprise " and insists that the Leaders special dispatches are 
clipped from exchanges. 4 So the Plain Dealer says it buys a new 
pair of scissors! 

Lest its readers be misled by hostile and belittling propa- 
ganda, the Leader explains: 

The fact is the Plain Dealer as well as the Herald is chagrined 
at the enterprise of the Leader in procuring news by the employ- 
ment of special telegraphic correspondence. The Plain Dealer's lim- 
ited circulation will not warrant the enormous expense incurred by 
the publishers of the Leader for special dispatches; hence, the wil- 
ful misrepresentation and perversion of facts. 5 

In this same month the government established military con- 
trol of all telegraph lines, the policy of the year before, of tak- 
ing control only of the lines radiating from Washington, having 
proved ineffective. This administration move greatly hampered 
the work of the correspondents, and various devices were re- 
sorted to in order to avoid its rigors. 

The Plain Dealer, having no correspondents, could indulge in 
the " reflection that it is for the good and ultimate success of 
the cause and that the order [forbidding the publication of 
military news] indicates immediate and important movements, 
having for their object a speedy crushing of the rebellion. . . ,* 6 

Cleveland's sixth railroad the Atlantic & Great Western 
was completed into the city the day following Lee's repulse at 
Gettysburg. The mail service, resorted to by correspondents 
when they were denied access to the wires, could now be used 
to better advantage to keep newspaper readers informed of 

3 February?. 

4 February 14. 

5 February 20. 

6 February 26. 


events at the front. And a surprising proportion of Civil War 
news reached these Western newspapers , convoyed by a post- 
age stamp. 

The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1 and ended two days 
later. On the afternoon of the 3rd the Plain Dealer, discussing 
the battle, remarked: " The engagement which must have taken 
place yesterday we know nothing of at this date. . . ? The 
next day, being Independence Day, no Plain Dealer was pub- 
lished. The 5th was Sunday and hence no Plain Dealer. 

On Monday afternoon, the 6th, the Plain Dealer announced 
the " glorious victory," basing its news on a special dispatch 
from Baltimore to the New York Herald. It also printed General 
Meade's official report of the battle, dated July 3 at 8.30 p.m. 

The Leader, with no compunctions against printing an edi- 
tion on the Fourth, announced that day that " in the battle of 
Gettysburg the Federal troops were entirely successful. . . ." 

Although Associate Editor Hoyt attended the Gettysburg 
dedication two months and a half later and heard the famous 
Lincoln address, the Plain Dealer contented itself with the an- 
nouncement the next afternoon that, ** the weather being fine, 
the program was carried out successfully." One day later an 
* eloquent extract " from Edward Everett's oration at Gettys- 
burg was printed. 

Former Plain Dealer men in the Union armies occasionally 
wrote letters from the front, but with Gray gone much of their 
warm affection for the paper was gone also. Extracts from other 
papers, printed under the head " Telegraphic," filled many col- 
umns. Letters from unnamed officers, conjectural reasoning 
based on inadequate facts, scant dispatches innocuous enough 
to get by the censors or clever enough to detour them such 
was the bulk of Civil War reporting as made to the Cleveland 

The unconvincing character of much of this reporting is indi- 
cated by a statement of the Plain Dealer on the afternoon of the 
last day of Gettysburg that " there are tolerably circumstantial 


statements that Gens. Dix and Keyes are marching upon Rich- 
mond with 50,000 men. . . " On the last afternoon of 1863 the 
paper printed a report from Chattanooga, under a Fortress 
Monroe date line, quoting the Richmond Inquirer of the 24thf 

Illustration of war situations and events was confined largely 
to the weeklies. Harper's was in its glory, with its still-remem- 
bered woodcuts. Occasionally a Cleveland paper would offer 
a map to show some plan of battle; occasionally the cut of a 
general. That was about all. 

Civil War reporting was certainly better than Mexican War 
reporting. Public interest in the fight between the states was 
many times stronger than in the previous war. But the real 
improvement one is tempted to say, the perfection in war- 
reporting technique was r^erved for a future clash of arms. 

Between Appomattox and the sinking of the Maine thirty- 
three years elapsed. They were years of elaboration in the 
mechanism of news collection and dissemination. Events of 
the War with Spain at the end of the century never gripped the 
emotions of the American people as did those of the Civil War 
or the World War. The results were taken for granted before 
the first shots were fired. It may be said, however, that the pro- 
fession of war correspondent reached its apogee in that war. 

It has been remarked that ** the armadas of dispatch boats 
loaded with reporters, feature writers and photographers, sent 
down by some of the New York papers were about as formida- 
ble as Sampson's fleet, and their doings took up pretty nearly 
as much space in the dispatches." 7 

The Plain Dealer did not could not indulge in such ex- 
travagance. Elbert H. Baker came to the paper, under the 
Baker-Kennedy lease, in the same month that Manila surren- 
dered to Dewey; the same month that Schley shut Cervera's 
fleet in the bay at Santiago. The Plain Dealer did what Baker 
liked to describe as " a good job of reporting," but it had to be 
done with the resources of an inopulent treasury. 
T Elmer Davis in the History of the New Yor/c Times. 


A year before the start of the War with Spain the Associ- 
ated Press of Illinois had after a hard fight vanquished the 
United Press of New York. 8 The Plain Dealer was an early mem- 
ber of the Associated Press. W. W. Armstrong had for one year 
acted as president of the Western Associated Press while Joseph 
Medill was in Europe. This organization, like the Associated 
Press of New York, had done valuable work in the Civil War. 

The Associated Press of Illinois, successor of several sectional 
news-gathering organizations bearing similar names, dominant 
in its field after the defeat of the old United Press, was ready to 
do a superb job of war reporting in 1898. In the midst of the 
War with Spain the Plain Dealer announced an arrangement 
just made with the New Yorfc World which placed the entire 
foreign and domestic news services of the Eastern paper at the 
disposal of the Plain Dealer. 9 

This was intended, said the Plain Dealer, only to " reinforce 
the dispatches of the Associated Press with special cablegrams 
from all foreign points of interest in the present war/' The 
World then had correspondents at Manila, with the fleets, and 
with General Miles and General Shafter. The result of this 
additional service gave the war reports of the Plain Dealer dis- 
tinction in its field, though it was not always easy to fix the 
origin of important news dispatches. The line " By Associated 
Press " had not yet attained the magic quality it would later 

The news of the victory at Manila was given in a ** special 
to the Plain Dealer " under a Washington date line. News from 
London the next day carried the line " Copyrighted by the As- 
sociated Press." Franklin Hall, Plain Dealer correspondent at 
Columbus, covered the National Guard mobilization. 

By comparison, the War with Spain was an easy one to report. 
The distances except in the case of Manila were short. 
There were no American reverses. Generally speaking, news- 

8 Not to be confused with the present United Press. 

9 Editorial, June 5, 1898. 


paper readers knew each morning what happened the previous 

From the point of view of newspaper reporting the World 
War of 1914-18 was the biggest event since the daily press had 
assumed its modern importance as purveyor of news. For Amer- 
icans the remoteness of the battlefields, the perfection of cen- 
sorship, the number of service men involved, the staggering 
total of expenditures, even the novelty of fighting for Ameri- 
canism three thousand miles from America, combined to make 
the war a matter of unparalleled interest to every fireside. 

In the nineteen years between the War with Spain and Amer- 
ican entrance into the World War the agencies of communica- 
tion had multiplied in number and ripened in efficiency. The 
Associated Press, as it is known today, had developed from the 
Illinois association after the state supreme court had made a 
decision in 1900 which radically undermined the purpose of 
the earlier organization. 10 It was ready in 1914 to give the world 
an example of big news reporting unexcelled before or since. 11 

Since the last war, also, the wireless and the radio had come 
into the service of newspapers and their correspondents. The 
motor car and the airplane made their own contribution to the 
science of speed in news-gathering. 

On the other hand, of course, this war saw the art of censor- 
ship raised to new, inglorious heights. It was one thing for a 
correspondent to get the news of events at the front; it was 
often quite another and more serious matter to get the news 
into the home office. There was nothing the newspapers could 
do about it. It was merely one of the major handicaps under 
which the war correspondents labored. 

In addition to the full Associated Press reports, the Plain 

10 The court declared that the Associated Press of Illinois was, by the 
terms of the charter, a common carrier. The efficiency of the present asso- 
ciation could not have been attained under such an interpretation. A new 
charter was necessary and it was obtained under New York law. 

11 No reference is intended here to 1940 or 1941 events in Europe or 
to their reporting. 


Dealer had by now the leased wire service of the New 'York 
Times. This brought to Cleveland breakfast tables the complete 
reports of such experts as Carl Ackerman, Walter Duranty, 
Edwin L. James, Charles H. Grasty, and half a dozen others 
who wrote understandingly from foreign capitals and the fields 
of France. 

At Washington the Plain Dealer had its own correspondent, 
Ben F. Allen, interpreting war news from that center of activity. 
From Columbus Walker S. Buel kept readers informed of Ohio 
defense activities and events at the state capital related to the 
American effort abroad. 12 J. H. Donahey, who had come to the 
Plain Dealer at the beginning of 1900 and had become out- 
standing among American cartoonists, added his interpretation 
of war developments in a daily cartoon on the first page. 

Thus the Plain Dealer covered its fourth war. When the 
Armistice came it could look back on a performance capably 
achieved. There had been none of the guess-work of the Mexi- 
can War, none of the hit-and-miss reporting of the Civil War, 
much less sensationalism than was shown in the War with 
Spain. It was a big job adequately done. 

The significant comparison is not so much between two groups 
of reporters, those of 1847 and those of 1917, as between the 
facilities for reporting which science and invention had devel- 
oped in these seventy years. There was probably little difference 
in the men themselves. The wide world of difference was be- 
tween the pony express and the wireless; between a cableless 
Atlantic and correspondents in hourly touch with their offices 
across the sea; between guessing at what happened at the front 
a week ago and knowing precisely what happened yesterday. 

The Plain Dealer has lived through many an evolution in 
newspaper-making since Gray launched his modest bark. Many 
of them are reflected in the changing manners and methods of 
war reporting. 

12 Mr. Buel has been the Plain Dealer's Washington correspondent 
since 1919. 



Giant presses whir through the night; typesetting 
from a keyboard; the matrix and the tele- 
type; from woodcuts to wirephotos. 

ROMANCE dwells in the press-room as well as in the editorial 
and business offices. The music of newspaper-making comes 
from typesetting machines, is heard in the tinkling of telephones 
and the purring of motor cars used both in the collection of 
news and in the distribution of the completed product. 

The Plain Dealer's first press equipment consisted of one 
Washington hand press. " We commenced," wrote J. W. Gray in 
1856, " with a single hand press and one swearing roller boy." * 
Press and boy were, presumably, capable of turning off not 
many more than a hundred copies of the 1842 Plain Dealer in 
an hour. Only a few hundred, of course, were necessary. 

By 1856 Gray said his equipment had increased to four hand 
presses and two steam power presses, while a third press had 
been ordered. The Plain Dealer was already five years old when 
Richard M. Hoe invented the rotary press, to be followed soon 
after by the invention of the curved stereotype plate fashioned 
to fit the cylinder of the press. The flexible matrix, which made 
the curved plate possible, increased the capacity of newspaper 
presses a hundredfold. 

1 Plain Dealer, January 3. 



The Plain Dealer, though far from the first in its local field, 
antedated the power press as well as the rotary press. In its 
earliest days it knew nothing of typesetting machines or of the 
stereotyping process. It did not, of course, have the help of 
typewriters, telegraph, or telephone. 

Prior to the introduction of steam power, cylinder presses 
were turned by crank-men. They were known as Napier presses 
and were built by the Hoes. The first steam-driven press in Ohio 
was installed in the building of the Cincinnati Gazette in 1834. 
It did not reach Cleveland, then a much smaller community 
than Cincinnati, for some years after the advent of the weekly 
Plain Dealer. 

By 1852 Editor Gray announced the installation of " one of 
Hoe's super royal jobbing presses, the only one of its kind, we 
think, in the west." 2 At the beginning of the Civil War the paper 
was printed on a " single cylinder steam press." 3 It was this 
press, doubtless, that W. W. Armstrong found among the physi- 
cal assets of the paper he bought four years later. It was capable 
of turning off 1,800 copies of the four-page paper per hour. 

Thus from time to time in the succeeding years frequent an- 
nouncements came of the purchase of new, better, and larger 
presses. Three additional three-deck presses were bought in 
1899, the year following the Baker-Kennedy assumption of 
managerial authority under the lease. With this new equip- 
ment, it was said, the Plain Dealer could print 88,000 ten- or 
twelve-page papers an hour; 50,000 sixteen-page papers; or 
38,000 twenty- or twenty-four-page papers. Circulation was 
then rapidly rising and the new capacity was put to good use. 

The art of printing advances so rapidly that scarcely a year 
passes which does not call for some addition to, or replacement 
of, important mechanical equipment in the Plain Dealer plant. 
In the fall of 1936 the paper began the use of what its manufac- 
turer called *' the world's largest, fastest, most modern multi- 

* June 21. 

3 May 29, 1881. 


color newspaper press." 4 It is used exclusively for printing 
the comic section and the Sunday magazine. 

Between the single Washington press of 1842 and the great 
battery of Hoe machines of 1942 lies a typically American story 
of a newspaper keeping pace with its opportunity by providing 
for itself a mechanical plant as fine as any in the world, in order 
that it may the more effectively serve those who depend on it 
for information of a universe teeming with significant activities. 

A modern metropolitan newspaper press-room is a layman's 
wonderland. The massiveness of its equipment and the smooth- 
ness of its operation, the nice precision which marks its every 
part and function, the intricacy of its fast-moving parts, each 
attending to its own specific tasks, the atmosphere of hurried 
but orderly activity which governs it all, the rapidity and vol- 
ume of its production, haste without confusion, a thousand 
devils of power controlled by a switch the whole constitutes 
a harmonious, almost poetic epitome of the new mechanical 
age. Mere statistics mean little and, to a layman, explain less. 

In the Plain Dealer's great press-room now stand six giants 
of steel, electrically operated, whose fast-turning rollers nightly 
and daily turn out the Plain Dealers, printed and folded for 
delivery. Additional to the six in the press-room of the Plain 
Dealer Building is another battery of presses operating in the 
art-gravure building on Superior Avenue near East 18th Street, 
and used in connection with the art-gravure section of the Sun- 
day Plain Dealer. 

Two of the six in the press-room at Superior and East 6th 
Street are among the very latest built by R. Hoe & Company, 
being known as the twelve-arch type press units. The second of 
the two was put in operation on November 6, 1940; installation 
of the first had been completed in the previous August. 

If figures are desired, let it be said that these latest presses 
have a length of nearly 100 feet, a height of about 24 feet, and 
weigh 500 tons. Each press is driven by a 200-horsepower mo- 
4 November 15. 


tor. These are six-unit presses, which means, in effect, that each 
of these mammoth presses is really six presses built into a single 
structure, each of the six units being operable by itself, if desired. 

Three of the six presses in the Plain Dealer Building are five- 
unit instead of six-unit presses, and all they lack which their 
bigger brothers have except capacity are the refinements 
which have come in press building since the time of their as- 
sembling. One is used entirely for color printing. Color printing 
is a side-line, with each of the lesser members of the big bat- 
tery of six having an extra unit usable for color only. 

Leaving the one exclusively color press out of consideration, 
the other five are capable of running off 180,000 Plain Dealers 
per hour, as long as the number of pages per issue does not go 
above forty. Thus runs the story of the Plain Dealer as told in the 
press-room; from J. W. Gray's single hand press to its seven 
Brobdingnagian successors; from the Plain Dealer of 1842 to the 
Plain Dealer of 1942. 

" There has been a great deal of interest in Cleveland for sev- 
eral years in typesetting machinery ," the Plain Dealer remarked 
in the spring of 1891, " but as yet no practical results have been 
seen." 5 On the next day, Sunday, the paper printed one whole 
page from type set by machinery, in order to give its readers a 
sample of what this strange new device was capable of doing. 

Nine months later announcement was made that a typesetting 
machine had been installed among the hand-set cases in the 
Plain Dealer composing-room. 6 It was considered enough of an 
innovation to justify an illustrated news article concerning it. 

The Plain Dealer today uses thirty-seven typesetting ma- 
chines, in addition to four monotypes for making type and 
spacing material and three typographs for composing display 

Near the end of the Civil War the Plain Dealer called atten- 
tion to the fact that the Cincinnati Commercial was then being 

5 May 23. 

6 February 21, 1892. 


printed from " stereotype plates/ 7 and described in detail what 
the process was. 7 The Sun and other New York papers had be- 
gun using the plates several years before. Evidently they were 
still news in Cleveland. 

Between the machine which sets type and the machine which 
prints the paper, on the newspaper assembly line, stands the 
stereotype equipment which uses the type to make the matrix 
and then the matrix to make the curved metal plate which the 
pressman attaches to the cylinder of his great machine for print- 
ing. As many as a thousand of these plates are sometimes made 
in a single night in the Plain Dealer stereotype room. 

So many discoveries and inventions touching newspaper- 
making came so fast that either the chronology or the relative 
importance is difficult to fix. What would the great modern press 
keep itself busy with if paper still had to be made of rags? What 
would today's newspapers look like if photo-engraving had not 
come? How many men setting type by hand would be required 
to fill the columns of the Sunday Plain Dealer? 

The invention of paper is supposed to have occurred near 
the beginning of the Christian era. As late as 1862 the Plain 
Dealer considered it news that a process had been discovered 
for making print paper from wood pulp. 8 About the same time 
the cost of rag paper, then used by newspapers, had risen to 
twelve and a half cents a pound. 9 

The typesetting machine, the stereotype process, and the per- 
fection of pulp paper manufacture, coming within a period of 
a few years, permitted newspapers to expand to something like 
their present size. Without either of the three it is a fair assump- 
tion that the twentieth-century daily and Sunday newspaper 
would be but a fraction of its present size. 

? October 24, 1864. 

* December 22. 

9 Plain Dealer, December 26, 1862. At this price paper would have 
cost $250 a ton. A recent price on wood-pulp paper, such as is used by 
most newspapers now, was $50 a ton. 


Old-time printers complained that setting type by machinery 
would deprive them of employment. Instead, the new process 
hastened an expansion calling for many more printers than 

The machine which sets type speeds up the enterprise, short- 
ening the time between the writing of a news story and its ap- 
pearance in print. The stereotyper helps the speed-up by mak- 
ing duplicate plates of the same page, which permits the fast 
press to print simultaneously half a dozen first pages instead 
of one at a time. 

The advent of any machine which does work formerly done 
by hand is likely momentarily to displace some workers. In the 
case of the newspaper at least, the introduction of mechanical 
processes had the effect before long of multiplying jobs and of 
making large enterprises out of smaller ones. 

Before the time when the first step in print-paper-making was 
to sharpen the woodman's ax, it was sometimes difficult to per- 
suade people to sell their old rags to paper-makers. In an adver- 
tisement supposedly designed to encourage this useful disposal 
of waste material, printed in the Virginia Gazette in 1744, ap- 
peared this quaint stanza: 

Nice Delia's smock, which, neat and whole, 
No man durst finger for his soul; 
Turned to Gazette, now all the Town 
May take it up, or smooth it down, 
Whilst Delia may with it dispense, 
And no affront to Innocence! 

The Plain Dealer pioneered in the use of illustrations in its 
news columns. The early cuts were, of course, line drawings 
and most of them were decidedly crude. In one issue in 1882 the 
paper devoted its entire first page to cuts of persons identified 
with the trial of Guiteau, the assassin of Garfield. 10 There was 
no attempt at ornamentation or artistic lay-out. And, sad to re- 

10 February 4. 


late, some of the captions were mixed in the make-up, misidenti- 
fying various innocent people. 

These early cuts were printed from wood blocks. Later came 
chalk plates, whereon the artist scratched his pictures in the 
chalk covering of steel plates. On the heels of the chalk came 
the zinc etching, still used in some branches of newspaper illus- 
tration. The Plain Dealer's daily cartoons, for instance, are 
printed from such etchings. 

By the end of the century, however, photo-engraving link- 
ing the camera to the printing press was producing for gen- 
eral purposes the half-tone cut which has now practically sup- 
planted the earlier types of newspaper illustration. The new 
cuts began to appear in the Plain Dealer early in January 1900. 
For a time the new and the old appeared together in the same 
issues of the paper, but gradually the line drawings decreased in 
number; the half -tones grew more numerous. 

One of the first steps of plant expansion undertaken after the 
opening of the Baker-Kennedy regime was the establishment 
of complete photo-engraving facilities. It was the small begin- 
ning of what has become a department which keeps eighteen 
men busy and turns out an average of 1,400,000 square inches 
of engraving per year. This figure may be compared with the 
60,000 inches produced the first year. 

The introduction of photo-engraving in the process of news- 
paper-making was fraught with serious difficulties. It was 
thought at first that the new art could not be adapted to the fast 
rotary press. The stereotyping process had not yet developed 
its later efficiency, nor had the printing press. The quality of 
paper then used was considered a serious handicap to success. 
It was one of the tasks of the Plain Dealer's new photo-engrav- 
ing plant to study how to overcome these handicaps. Its success 
is attested by evidence offered in every issue of the paper. 

Great as was the achievement of the photo-engraving process 
in furnishing plates capable of being stereotyped and then 
printed on the modern fast press, the marvel of it is overshad- 


late, some of the captions were mixed in the make-up, misidenti- 
fying various innocent people. 

These early cuts were printed from wood blocks, Later came 
chalk plates, whereon the artist scratched his pictures in the 
chalk covering of steel plates. On the heels of the chalk came 
the zinc etching, still used in some branches of newspaper illus- 
tration. The Plain Dealers daily cartoons, for instance, are 
printed from such etchings. 

By the end of the century, however, photo-engraving link- 
ing the camera to the printing press was producing for gen- 
eral purposes the half-tone cut which has now practically sup- 
planted the earlier types of newspaper illustration. The new 
cuts began to appear in the Plain Dealer early in January 1900. 
For a time the new and the old appeared together in the same 
issues of the paper, but gradually the line drawings decreased in 
number; the half-tones grew more numerous. 

One of the first steps of plant expansion undertaken after the 
opening of the Baker-Kennedy regime was the establishment 
of complete photo-engraving facilities. It was the small begin- 
ning of what has become a department which keeps eighteen 
men busy and turns out an average of 1,400,000 square inches 
of engraving per year. This figure may be compared with the 
60,000 inches produced the first year. 

The introduction of photo-engraving in the process of news- 
paper-making was fraught with serious difficulties. It was 
thought at first that the new art could not be adapted to the fast 
rotary press. The stereotyping process had not yet developed 
its later efficiency, nor had die printing press. The quality of 
paper then used was considered a serious handicap to success. 
It was one of the tasks of the Plain Dealers new photo-engrav- 
ing plant to study how to overcome these handicaps. Its success 
is attested by evidence offered in every issue of the paper. 

Great as was the achievement of the photo-engraving process 
in furnishing plates capable of being stereotyped and then 
printed on the modern fast press, the marvel of it is overshad- 


owed by the wirephoto the photograph sent by wire. Experi- 
mentation in this direction had been carried on steadily for 
many years when on New Year's Day 1935 the first satisfactory 
picture by wire was flashed by the Associated Press from New 
York to twenty-five receiving stations scattered across the con- 
tinent. 11 The wirephoto was born. The camera was brought 
into closer partnership with the printing press. 

As a member of the Associated Press the Plain Dealer has 
from the first taken full advantage of this new service for its 
readers. Obviously, the news picture enjoys its maximum use- 
fulness only when it is used simultaneously with the news story 
it illustrates. The wirephoto and the wire news report belong 
together. They now appear together in every daily or Sunday 
issue of the Plain Dealer. 

Indeed, so far has the process of sending pictures by wire 
developed that the Plain Dealer photographer on an important 
story now carries a portable machine with him which, attached 
to any phone, permits him to send his photograph to the home 
office without the slightest loss of time. 

Since the day the Grays started the weekly Plain Dealer, 
compelled to depend largely on their exchanges for news out- 
side of Cuyahoga County, with nothing faster than stagecoaches 
and lake vessels for communication with the world, much of 
man's inventive talent has been devoted to the elimination of 

Speed is the newspapers' god. The American people have a 
consuming thirst for news, and they want it fresh. Most of the 
inventions of the last hundred years which relate to newspaper 
publication have underlying them this single purpose: to hurry 
the process of gathering and distributing the day's news. 

In these hundred years have come the railroads, the telegraph, 

11 This first satisfactory picture sent by wire was of a group of half- 
frozen survivors of an air liner which crashed in the Adirondacks. They 
had been found after days of frantic search in a wild country. The Plain 
Dealer, of course, printed the picture. 


the telephone, the radio, the airplane, the marvelous process 
of sending photographs by wire, the teletype. The list does not 
pretend to be complete. 

As familiar a thing as the typewriter plays its important part 
in speeding up the process of publication. The contempt which 
springs from familiarity is not merited here. 

In the winter of 1875 a Plain Dealer reporter described a 
" wonderful machine " on exhibition at the Cleveland office of 
the Western Union Telegraph Company. 12 It was a " Sholes & 
Gladden typewriter/' whose speed and ease of operation was 
a day's sensation. Nearly a year later the Leader hailed the 
efficiency of the " type-writing machine " which it had tested 
by a speed contest between an operator and a penman. 13 

Manufacture of the first practical typewriter had begun at 
Ilion, New York, in the fall of 1873. Christopher Latham Sholes, 
newspaper printer and inventor, said he believed his machine, 
which he called a " typewriter " after many other names had 
been suggested and rejected, might be popular for a time, but he 
feared that then it would " be thrown aside/' 

Wonderful as the machine was acknowledged to be, however, 
it was slow of general adoption in the newspaper offices of 
Cleveland. Well past the third decade of the new century there 
were still men at editorial desks turning out penciled copy which 
printers admitted they found more or less legible. The Cleve- 
land Press claimed to be first to adopt the machine for general 
use, and this was about 1893. Within a few years typewriters 
were merrily clicking in all newspaper offices. 

By the summer of 1941 the Plain Dealer was using 154 type- 
writers, scattered through all departments. The "wonderful 
machine " of 1875, instead of being soon " thrown aside," had 
become almost as much a part of newspaper production as the 
great presses themselves. 

For the speedy gathering of local news in any community 

12 March 12. 

February 18, 1876. 


two particularly important factors, unknown to early Plain 
Dealer workers, must be given high rating. One is the telephone 
and the other the automobile, Cleveland's first telephone ex- 
change came in 1879, and it had 76 subscribers. One of them 
was the Plain Dealer. By 1890 the number of subscribers had 
risen to 2,979; by the end of 1940 to 282,250. 

The Plain Dealer alone now uses 225 telephones, operated 
through its own private exchange, which is connected with the 
Ohio Bell main exchange through 50 trunk lines. Subsidiary to 
the Plain Dealer's own private exchange are eight ** interceptor 
boards " scattered in various departments throughout the build- 
ing, These lines are open twenty-four hours a day 365 days a 
year, and over them pass an average of 6,000 calls a day. In ad- 
dition are to be counted 50 individual lines which do not con- 
nect with the exchange. Additional, also, is an independent 
exchange, with three trunk lines and ten stations, serving the ex- 
ecutive offices on the fourth floor. 

Such is the lengthened shadow of Alexander Graham Bell 
thrown across the daily activities of a single newspaper sixty- 
six years after his halting demonstration at the Centennial 

The wire communication of news reports itself a marvel in 
its own day added greatly to its efficiency by joining hands 
with the typewriter in the interests of speed. The result was the 
device called the teletype, or the teletypewriter. 

These machines came into limited use in 1915. Near the end 
of 1931 they became available on a nation-wide circuit. By this 
" printer service " messages typed on a machine in one office are 
printed almost instantaneously on machines in other offices, 
perhaps hundreds or thousands of miles away. The receiving 
machine is, in effect, an electrically operated typewriter, the 
impulses for its operation coming by wire from a sending sta- 
tion, no matter where. The copy coming from the machine is 
identical with that from which it is sent and has the appearance 


of ordinary copy, such as a reporter pounds out to hand to the 
city editor. 

A battery of seven of these teletype machines, owned by the 
Associated Press, operate nightly in the Plain Dealer Building 
and about the same number during the day at the News, the 
total output of them all going to the news desks of the morning 
paper. In addition, the United Press and the International News 
Service each has its own machines, bringing the news of the 
world hot from five continents. They are further evidence of 
the mechanical revolution which has occurred in newspaper- 
making since the Plain Dealer made its first bow to Cleveland. 

As the telephone in local news reporting puts practically 
every family in the community as close to the city editor's elbow 
as his own cradle instrument, so the motor car puts wheels 
under the reporter and the staff photographer. The " leg man/' 
once a favorite character with those who write of newspaper 
offices, has all but disappeared. A twentieth-century news- 
gatherer needs no legs! But he must know how to drive a car! 

With a phone on his desk and an auto on call, the reporter 
multiplies himself in efficiency. He can cover many times as 
much ground in news-gathering, probably do it better, and turn 
his news into copy faster than before. This advantage is achieved 
at whatever the cost may be of telephone service and auto hire. 
The same situation, of course, pertains to the staff photographer, 
who no longer needs to depend on street cars or his own sturdy 

These two aids to local news reporting have come into use 
at a time when population and industry are decentralizing and 
the men and women who gather the news of their community 
find the field they must cover becoming ever wider. 

The motor car confers a like advantage, of course, on those 
identified with the paper's distribution after printing. The old 
horse-drawn delivery truck is as obsolete as the reporter wait- 
ing for a street car. In interurban service, covering an ever 


widening circulation field, the motor truck supplants the local 
accommodation train. The higher tempo of the motor age thus 
casts its influence on newspaper-making all the way from the 
gathering of the news to its marketing. 

The flavor and essence of newspaper achievement remains, 
of course, as always, in the personality, the point of view, and 
the character of the men who control editorial and business 
policies. But inventive genius, working quietly in workshop 
and laboratory, has touched its magic wand to the process at 
many points. It gives the publisher new and ever more efficient 
tools with which to perform his task. It does not alter the char- 
acter of the task itself. 



Younger men in command. The radio. The Forest 

City Publishing Company. The Art 

Gravure Corporation of Ohio. 

THE KETTOEMENT of Elbert H. Baker as general manager of the 
Plain Dealer in 1920 brought about a new situation. The owner- 
ship was, of course, unchanged. 

Baker had been general manager since the beginning of 1907, 
when Charles E. Kennedy stepped out as a co-lessee. For nine 
years previous to that he had been business manager, in partner- 
ship under the lease with Kennedy, who had the title of editorial 

Now, in 1920, younger men came into high executive position, 
while Baker became president of the corporation. Erie C. Hop- 
wood was advanced from the managing editorship to the office 
of editor and given a title long unused. George M. Rogers, who 
had come up through the ranks to become business manager 
under Baker, was now made general manager in succession to 
the man who had brought him into the organization as a youth 
fresh from Western Reserve University. 

Liberty E. Holden had died seven years before, leaving his 
estate in the hands of a group of trustees who had been five in 
number when the trust was set up, but had before Mr. Holden's 
death been reduced to four by the death of his son, Albert F. 
Holden. 1 These four, Mrs. L. E. Holden, Guerdon S. Holden, 
i Born December 31, 1866; died May 13, 1913. 



F. H. Goff, and Benjamin P. Bole, now assumed direction of the 
Plain Dealer, as a principal asset of the Holden estate. 

The terms of the trust were such that, in case of the death or 
disability of one or of two trustees the vacancies should not be 
filled, but the number must not fall below three. The death of 
Mr, Goff in 1923' and of Mrs. Holden in 1932 reduced the board 
of trustees below the specified number. The remaining two 
thereupon elected I. F. Freiberger, then vice president of the 
Cleveland Trust Company, as the third trustee, under the pro- 
visions of the Holden will. Mr. Freiberger has since become 
chairman of the Cleveland Trust board of directors. 

This trust was set up for a twenty-five-year period following 
Mr. Holden's death. Upon its expiration in the summer of 1938, 
the estate was divided into six parts, as provided in the will. 
One part went to Western Reserve University. The rest of the 
estate went to Mr. Holden's five children, who are the present 
owners of the Plain Dealer. They are: Guerdon S. Holden of 
Cleveland, secretary and treasurer of the publishing company; 
and his four sisters, Mrs. Delia H. White and Mrs. Roberta H. 
Bole of Cleveland, Mrs. Gertrude H. McGinley and Mrs. Emery 
H. Greenough of Boston, Massachusetts. 2 

The five heirs decided at the expiration of their father's trust 
to leave the control and direction of the Plain Dealer in the 
hands of the board of trustees first established under the will. 
Since the summer of 1938, therefore, while the ownership of the 
newspaper property has rested with the heirs, the actual direc- 
tion of the enterprise has been carried on by the three trustees, 
Benjamin P. Bole, Guerdon S. Holden, and I. F. Freiberger. 

Upon the death of Erie C. Hopwood in 1928, Paul Bellamy 
became editor. George M. Rogers resigned as vice president and 
general manager near the beginning of 1933 and was succeeded 
by John S. McCarrens, advanced from the office of business 
manager. J. A. Van Buren became business manager, and at the 

2 Technically and legally, of course, the Plain Dealer is now owned 
by the Forest City Publishing Co. Strictly speaking, the Holden heirs own 
five sevenths of the Plain Dealer and five sevenths of the Cleveland News. 


same time Sterling E. Graham was made advertising manager. 

To succeed Bellamy as managing editor N. R. Howard was 
named, to be succeeded in turn by Stanley P. Barnett when 
Howard became editor of the Cleveland News in 1937. 

From many sections of America and from various schools of 
preparation came the men who are today directing the activi- 
ties of the Plain Dealer. 

Benjamin Patterson Bole, president of the Plain Dealer Pub- 
lishing Company since 1929, was born in Allegheny, Pennsyl- 
vania, October 23, 1873, son of Joseph Kirkpatrick and Melinda 
Eliza (Patterson) Bole and grandson of Robert Alexander and 
Euphemia (Kirkpatrick) Bole. His grandfather came to the 
United States from County Down, Ireland, in 1843, and settled 
in Pittsburgh, where his father was secretary and later manag- 
ing director of the Otis Steel Company and in 1893 organized 
and was president of the American Steel Casting Company 
(now the American Steel Foundries Company) . Benjamin Bole 
was graduated from Adelbert College, Western Reserve Univer- 
sity, with a Ph.B. degree in 1896 and studied law at the Frank- 
lin T. Backus Law School of the same university, receiving the 
LL.B. degree in 1899. He is now a trustee of both the college 
and the university. He was admitted to the Ohio bar and prac- 
ticed in Cleveland until 1913, when he withdrew from the law 
to enter business pursuits. Since then he has been president of 
the Hollenden Hotel Company. He was vice president and mem- 
ber of the executive committee of the Plain Dealer Publishing 
Company during 1913-29, becoming chairman of the executive 
committee in 1923. He was elected president of the latter cor- 
poration and chairman of the executive committee in 1929 and 
still holds that office. He is also a director of the Cleveland Trust 
Company, Pond Creek Pocahontas Company, and the Island 
Creek Coal Company and its subsidiaries. 

Mr. Bole was a member of Troop A, Ohio National Guard, 
during 1896-8, and served in the Spanish-American War as 
sergeant major and later as sergeant in the 1st Ohio Volunteer 


Cavalry. In 1917 he entered the first training camp at Fort Ben- 
jamin Harrison and was commissioned captain of cavalry in 
August 1917 and in the following October was transferred to 
the field artillery with the same rank. He was promoted to ma- 
jor, field artillery, in January 1918, and went overseas in June 
1918 as commander of the motor battalion, 308th Ammunition 
Train, 158th Field Artillery Brigade. He participated with his 
command in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, and after the Armis- 
tice accompanied the army of occupation into Germany, where 
he remained until January 1919. He now holds a commission 
as colonel, inactive reserve, U. S. Army. 

Mr. Bole is a member of the Kirtland Country, Chagrin Val- 
ley Hunt, University, and Mid-Day Clubs of Cleveland, and 
the Alpha Delta Phi Club, New York City. He was married at 
Bratenahl, Ohio, September 2, 1907, to Roberta, daughter of 
Liberty Emery Holden. They have one son, Benjamin Patter- 
* son Bole, Jr. 

Guerdon S. Holden, secretary-treasurer of the Plain Dealer 
Publishing Company, is one of the three trustees of his father's 
estate and a director of the corporation. He was born in Cleve- 
land, attended the University School of Cleveland, and was 
graduated from Worcester (Massachusetts) Academy before 
entering Harvard for his college course. His connection with the 
Plain Dealer goes back to 1907. 

Since 1911 Mr. Holden has been a member of the visiting 
committee of the geology section at Harvard. He is a trustee of 
the Natural History Museum of Cleveland, of the Cleveland 
School of Art, and of Lakeview Cemetery; and is a member of 
the advisory committee of the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

I. F. Freiberger, one of the three trustees of the Holden estate 
and a director of the publishing company, was born in New 
York City. Following his graduation from Western Reserve 
University in 1901, he went to work in the estates department of 
the Cleveland Trust Company and has been continuously iden- 


president of the Plain Dealer Publishing Company, 
president of the Forest City Publishing Company, 
and a trustee of the Liberty E. Holden Estate, died 
suddenly on the morning of November 27, 1941, 
when this volume was already on the press. 

Mr. Bole was a man of many civic interests and 
activities. He served his country in two wars. His 
death was a great loss not only to the Plain Dealer 
but to the community it has served for one hundred 


tified with this bank ever since. He became assistant trust offi- 
cer in 1903, trust officer in 1907, vice president in 1915, and 
chairman of the board of the bank in 1941. 

His connection with the Plain Dealer dates from 1932 when 
he was chosen a trustee of the Holden estate after the death of 
Mrs. L. E. Holden. 

Civic activities are an important part of Mr. Freiberger's con- 
tribution to Cleveland. He has served as president of the Cham- 
ber of Commerce, is a trustee of Cleveland College and Adel- 
bert College and chairman of the finance committee of Mount 
Sinai Hospital. 

John S. McCarrens, vice president and general manager, was 
born at Freeport, Pennsylvania, July 27, 1869. His early years 
were spent in the Oil City and Bradford, Pennsylvania, oil coun- 
tries. He attended parochial and public schools and Niagara 
University. From the university he received in June 1940 the 
honorary degree of LL.D. 

His early training was in merchandising and advertising. On 
coming to Cleveland in 1899 he applied himself to the study of 
business administration and executive management and subse- 
quently became advertising manager of the May Company de- 
partment store. In 1914 he was appointed advertising manager 
of the Plain Dealer; in 1917 he became business manager and 
in 1933 was made a member of the board of directors. At the 
same time he was made vice president and general manager. 
He is also president of the United Broadcasting Company and 
of the Art Gravure Corporation of Ohio. 

Important recognition was given Mr. McCarrens as a pub- 
lisher when he was elected president of the American News- 
paper Publishers Association. He served in this office in 1939 
and 1940. 

Paul Bellamy's connection with the Plain Dealer dates back 
to 1909. Son of Edward Bellamy, famed author of Looking 
Backward and other books widely read in their day, he was 


born at Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, a small manufacturing 
city near Springfield. After graduation from Harvard he began 
newspaper work at Springfield, but severed his connection 
with New England a few years later to become a reporter on the 
Plain Dealer. 

Except for a brief period in the publishing business in Chi- 
cago and another covering his service as an artilleryman in the 
World War, he has been identified continuously with the 
paper, which raised him to the editorship in 1928. He holds 
honorary degrees from Ohio Wesleyan and Oberlin. 

Bellamy is a director of the Associated Press and a member 
of the executive committee of the board. He has been president 
of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and of the Cleve- 
land City Club. He is a member of the board of directors of the 
Plain Dealer Publishing Company. 

Many are the Plain Dealer men who got their first whiff of 
printer's ink on a small-town newspaper. Among them is C. C. 
McConkie, controller of the paper since 1909 and one of its 

He was born at Lexington, Ohio, and was graduated from the 
Port Clinton high school. Taking the opportunity immediately 
at hand, he went to work for the Lake Shore Bulletin, a weekly 
published at Port Clinton, and stayed there seven years. How- 
ever, his interest changed to business and then to public ac- 
counting. Most of his active years have been spent in the latter 
field. He is a member of the American Institute of Accountants, 
of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, and of the 
Controllers Institute. 

The day which saw Tom L. Johnson elected for his first term 
as mayor of Cleveland saw William G. Vorpe taking his first 
assignment as a Plain Dealer reporter. That was the first day of 
April 1901. Vorpe, Sunday and feature editor since 1919, has 
been with the paper uninterruptedly ever since. 

He was born at Kenton, Ohio, and there he began his news- 


"You're a regular old blarney!" 

Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday, October 3. 1911 

"Nottrce, you don't catch me kicking: another one!" 
Cleveland Plain Dealer. Sunday, Mirch 10. 1912 

These Donahey cartoons, picked at random, are characteristic of the work of an artist 
whose thinking is rooted deeply in rural Ohio. 


paper work as a one-man editorial staff on the small-town daily. 
He worked later on the Zanesville Courier, and brought to the 
Plain Dealer an understanding of Ohio conditions down state 
which from the beginning has been one of the assets of the 
paper. Vorpe is an alumnus of Ohio Wesleyan University. 

J. A. Van Buren, business manager of the Plain Dealer, came 
to the paper from New Orleans in 1923. His newspaper experi- 
ence began with the Times-Democrat in that city. In 1914 this 
paper was consolidated with the New Orleans Picayune and by 
1920 Van Buren was its business itianager. 

Three years after coming to the Plain Dealer, Van Buren was 
classified advertising manager, becoming advertising manager 
in 1931. He succeeded McCarrens as business manager in 1933. 

Sterling E. Graham, advertising manager, came to the Plain 
Dealer in 1924 with a background of scholarship, athletic prow- 
ess, and distinguished service in France. He was graduated 
from the DeWitt Clinton high school in New York with the 
Samuels medal for the best combined record of classroom and 
sports achievements. This habit of acquiring honors for useful 
accomplishment has remained with him through the years. 

He is a man of endless activities in professional and civic 
fields. A two-term president of the Cleveland Advertising Club, 
he finds time also for active membership in other organizations 
familiar in Cleveland for their good works. 

One of the most widely known of all Plain Dealer men is 
James Harrison Donahey, cartoonist, who brought his facile pen 
and understanding philosophy to the paper in 1900. The work 
of Donahey is known wherever newspaper opinion is consid- 
ered worth following. 

Born at Westchester, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, he attended 
the public schools, took a business course, then abandoned his 
career as a printer to enter the Cleveland School of Art. He 
became a cartoonist on the old Cleveland World in 1896, per- 
forming his daily task in chalk plate. One of the early acts of 


E. H. Baker and Charles E. Kennedy, in their move to popular- 
ize the Plain Dealer, was to invite Donahey over from the World 
office to draw cartoons for the morning paper. 

Former Governor and former United States Senator Vic Don- 
ahey, now in retirement, is a brother of the cartoonist. 

When Walker S. Buel became Washington correspondent in 
the fall of 1919 he succeeded to a line of distinguished news- 
paper men who have represented the Plain Dealer at the na- 
tional capital through many years. He is recognized today as 
one of the outstanding men in the profession at Washington. 

Born at Springfield, Ohio, Buel attended Buchtel College 
(now the University of Akron) and later Western Reserve 
University. He became a Plain Dealer reporter in 1912, head of 
the Columbus news bureau in 1917; two years later he suc- 
ceeded the late Ben F. Allen at Washington. 

The esteem in which he is held by his associates at the capital 
was shown when he was elected president of the Gridiron Club, 
widely famed organization whose dinners and programs are en- 
joyed by all official Washington, from the President down. 

Russell Weisman, chief editorial writer, came to the Plain 
Dealer in 1920 with the background of experience as a univer- 
sity instructor in economics. He has been a member of the staff 
of the Department of Economics at Western Reserve since 1919, 
and is now associate professor. 

He was born at Van Wert, Ohio, graduated from Reserve in 
1912, and in 1917 took a master's degree at Harvard. In this 
same year he enlisted in the Ambulance Corps and served with 
the French and Italian armies in France down to the time of 
the Armistice. He was awarded a Croix de Guerre for conspicu- 
ous service in evacuating a post under heavy fire. 

Recognition of Weisman in tie field of economics was made 
when he became a charter member of the national committee 
of economists on monetary policy which was set up in part to 
resist the influences tending toward inflation. 


Another Plain Dealer executive with World War experience 
is Stanley P. Barnett, managing editor. His first connection with 
the paper was as a reporter in 1920. 

He was born at Danville, Indiana, and after graduation from 
the local high school went to De Pauw University at Green- 
castle, Indiana, taking his degree there in 1915. He taught 
school for two years, worked for the Lorain News, the Richmond 
(Indiana) Item, and the Youngstown Telegram before com- 
ing to the Plain Dealer. He went to the Detroit News in 1922, 
but returned the same year to take the Plain Dealer state desk. 
From that point his advancement in the organization has been 
one of steady progression. 

Head of its department of drama and a popular columnist, 
William F, McDermott has the further distinction of being the 
Plain Dealers most traveled employee. Drop him with a para- 
chute in or near any large city in the world, and he will know 
his way to the nearest telegraph office and the most comfortable 
hotel, with no noticeable delay. Every year for some twenty 
years he visited a good part of Europe, and he has been three 
times round the world. 

Mr. McDermott took the Edisonian route to enter newspaper 
work, starting his career as a telegraph operator at fifteen in a 
small Indiana town. He was born a Hoosier, attended Butler 
College at Indianapolis, and devoted most of his effort prior to 
his coming to the Plain Dealer to the task of brightening the 
columns of the Indianapolis News. 

On invitation of the late Erie C. Hopwood, editor of the Plain 
Dealer, McDermott came to take the vacant desk as dramatic 
critic in 1922. His work has broadened with his years on the 
Plain Dealer. As a writer of travel sketches from abroad, as a 
columnist roaming the whole field of world events for comment 
and discussion, and as a dramatic critic, he has long been one 
of the most useful and popular of Plain Dealer men. 


Coming to the Plain Dealer in 1914, Byron A. Collins has 
spent his whole time since in building the National Advertising 
Department, which he established. The department has grown 
from a one-man affair to an organization of a score or more 
employees, in addition to representatives in seven other Ameri- 
can cities, 

Mr. Collins was bom at Whitney Point, New York, and was 
graduated from Union College. Before joining the staff of the 
Plain Dealer he spent six years at Dallas, Texas, where he was 
connected with the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. 

Joseph V. Madigan, circulation director both of the Plain 
Dealer and of the Cleveland News, was born in Cleveland and 
received his early education at St. Rose's Catholic School. Grad- 
uated from the Dayton Preparatory School, he attepded Dayton 
University and Adalbert College. He is a graduate also of Cleve- 
land Law School. 

He came to the Plain Dealer in June 1927, doing circulation 
and general promotion work. In May 1930 he was appointed 
country circulation manager of the Plain Dealer. He held this 
position until July 1935, when he became circulation manager 
of the Cleveland News. In October 1936 he assumed the duties 
of circulation director of both newspapers. 

Mr. Madigan has served as president of the Ohio Circulation 
Managers Association, and for the past three years was a direc- 
tor of the International Circulation Managers Association. He 
is still an active member of the Ohio group. 

He is an enthusiast in outdoor sports, and hasn't missed a 
world series in many years. 

Clark Bole came to the Plain Dealer in the spring of 1936 as 
credit manager and has remained at that post. He was born in 
Cleveland, attended the local public schools, University School, 
and Cornell University. Before joining the staff of the Plain 
Dealer he was connected with the Cleveland Trust Company, 
Hayden, Miller & Company, Cleveland brokers, the Hydraulic 
Steel Company, and the Cleveland Tile Company. 


New executives, new times, new opportunities, invite new 
steps in expansion. No newspaper can stand still. One must 
either advance or begin to stagnate. Happily, the Plain Dealer 
has chosen to push ahead. 

John J. McCarrens is manager of the classified advertising 
department. His connection with the Plain Dealer began in 1927 
when he joined the circulation department. Three years later 
he was advanced to advertising promotion and merchandising; 
in 1933 to display advertising. He became assistant classified 
manager in 1936 and assumed his present position two years 

Mr. McCarrens was born in Cleveland and attended George- 
town and Dayton Universities. 

A step of far-reaching significance was taken by the Plain 
Dealer a dozen years ago when it entered the field of radio. The 
idea behind the move was that, with the fast-developing science 
of communication by air, even the wisest of newspaper pub- 
lishers could not tell what a few years or a few decades might 
bring in the business of news merchandising, If radio commu- 
nication were some day somehow to supplant the newspaper, a 
company that wished to remain in the business of news-gather- 
ing and distribution might do well to have this anchor to wind- 

In pursuit of this policy the Plain Dealer now owns Stations 
WHK and WCLE in Cleveland, WHKC at Columbus, and a 
minority interest in WKBN at Youngstown, These stations are 
not operated in co-operation with the Plain Dealer. They are 
not used to promote the interests of the paper. Probably few 
radio listeners are aware of the ownership of these particular 
stations. This fact, if it is a fact, accords perfectly with the 
wishes of the Plain Dealer. 

A step of quite another character in the development of Plain 
Dealer policy was taken in 1932, bringing the Plain Dealer and 
the Cleveland News under common ownership. The two news- 


papers had long been cousins of a sort, since the morning and 
Sunday Plain Dealer sprang from the Cleveland morning and 
Sunday Herald while the ancestry of the News includes the 
Evening Herald as well as the Evening Plain Dealer. 

The Forest City Publishing Company, incorporated at Colum- 
bus on the last day of September 1932, was organized to clear 
up a newspaper situation in Cleveland which had long given 
concern to men in the local publishing field. Into the hands of 
the new corporation was transferred all the capital stock of the 
Plain Dealer and the News, the one a morning and Sunday 
paper and the other an evening and Sunday paper. Two months 
later announcement was made of the Plain Dealer's purchase of 
the Sunday News. 

The two newspapers continue as before to maintain their 
separate identities, policies, and managements. Each paper con- 
tinues to be published in its own plant and office building as 

Benjamin P. Bole, president of the Plain Dealer Publishing 
Company, was immediately chosen president also of the Forest 
City Company. The first board of directors of the new company 
was composed of Mr. Bole, George M. Rogers, John S. McCar- 
rens, Dan R. Hanna, Jr., John A. Hadden, Guerdon S. Holden, 
and I. F. Freiberger. 3 

Of this first Forest City board, five members represented the 
Plain Dealer and two represented the News. 

The officers and directors of the Cleveland Company, publish- 
ers of the News, at the time were: Dan R. Hanna, Jr., president 
and publisher; Marcus A. Hanna II, vice president; C. F. McCa- 
hill, vice president and business manager; J. J. Levins, treas- 
urer; and A. E. M. Bergener, managing editor. 

3 On the death of Dan R. Hanna, Sr., son of United States Senator 
Marcus A. Hanna, in 1921, control of the News passed into the hands of 
his sons. One son, Marcus Alonzo Hanna II, died in 1936. Another son, 
Carl H. Hanna, is engaged in other activities. Dan R. Hanna, Jr., has been 
continuously identified with the publication of the News. 


Five years after the incorporation of the Forest City Publish- 
ing Company the Plain Dealer stepped out in another direction 
to strengthen its position as a metropolitan newspaper in an 
era which puts increasing emphasis on illustration. 

The Art Gravure Corporation of Ohio was chartered under 
the laws of the state in 1937 and in that year was housed in a 
building erected for it at 1845 Superior Avenue. The Plain 
Dealer Publishing Company owns a majority interest in the 

For years before 1937 a branch of the Art Gravure Corpora- 
tion of New York occupied quarters in the Plain Dealer Build- 
ing. In it were printed the Plain Dealer's Sunday art-gravure 
section and similar parts for other newspapers. The growth of 
the business required more and more space, which the Plain 
Dealer Building itself could not provide. 

It was decided, therefore, to organize a new corporation un- 
der Ohio laws and establish it in quarters adequate to its pres- 
ent needs and capable of expansion to meet future requirements. 
The two art-gravure concerns, that of New York and of Ohio, 
work in co-operation. Fred Murphy, president of the Eastern 
corporation, is a part owner of the Ohio concern. The Scripps- 
Howard newspapers also hold a minority interest in it. 

The Ohio corporation, thus housed in model quarters, does 
printing not only for the Plain Dealer but also for papers in 
Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Toledo, Youngstown, Akron, and Minne- 
apolis. It produces the entire edition of the Ohio Farmer, the 
Michigan Farmer, and the Pennsylvania Farmer. 

The art-gravure plant itself, the only one of its kind between 
New York and Chicago, was built by the Plain Dealer. 

Thus from year to year, as the field of newspaper publication 
widens and the public comes to expect increasingly more from 
those in the business of purveying intelligence, the hundred- 
year-old Plain Dealer expands its facilities to meet new oppor- 
tunities. It keeps step with the higher tempo of the times. 



An editorial which made newspaper history. After ninety- 
eight years the Plain Dealer supports for presi- 
dent Willkie, a candidate not a Democrat. 

THE MOST widely quoted editorial the Plain Dealer has printed 
in its hundred years of political observation and comment was 
that of August 20, 1940 declaring its support of Wendell L. 
Willkie, Republican candidate for president of the United 

In a six-column spread at the top of the first page the paper 
announced its conviction that the welfare and safety of America 
would be best promoted by the defeat of the Democrat seeking 
a third term in the presidency. It was a dramatic declaration. 
It was widely acclaimed. It was widely condemned. 

When the Plain Dealer made its first saluting bow at the be- 
ginning of 1842 John Tyler was President, the nation's first 
" accidental " occupant of the White House. The first Democrat 
to be nominated for the office after the advent of the Plain 
Dealer was James K. Polk. Though then only a weekly, the 
paper gave the Tennessean its cordial though unimportant sup- 

From that time through 1896 the Plain Dealer was found 



every four years arguing for the election of whomever the Dem- 
ocratic national convention named for president. By this time 
the morning and Sunday Plain Dealer had appeared. The eve- 
ning edition, under the name of the Post, joined the other two 
in support of William J. Bryan. 

Two years after the first defeat of the free-silver advocate 
control of the paper came into the hands of Elbert H. Baker 
and Charles E. Kennedy under a lease, and a new point of view 
prevailed in the management of the property. The policy of 
making friends and avoiding enmities was reflected in die politi- 
cal attitude of the paper. 

Following 1896, for three presidential campaigns the Plain 
Dealer avoided a commitment on the presidency. It was a de- 
liberate policy. That the paper did not suffer in public esteem 
because of it was amply demonstrated by the record of the 
paper's great growth during this period. No choice was made in 
1900 between McKinley and Bryan, none in 1904 between the 
first Roosevelt and Parker, and none in 1908 between Taft and 
Bryan, running die third time for the presidency, 

Ohio Republicans were frankly pleased in 1900 at the studi- 
ously fair treatment their candidate for president received at 
the hands of the paper which had worked for his defeat four 
years before. The Baker policy of keeping editorial opinion out 
of the news columns was receiving its first big test, and readers 
liked it. Supporters of McKinley found their meetings fully 
and fairly reported, their statements of policy and fact given 
generous news space. 

The same technique was followed four and eight years later. 
Taft, Ohio's President, had occasion many times to express ap- 
preciation of the friendly, helpful attitude of the Plain Dealer. 
Against powerful influences in his own party, the paper sup- 
ported the administration in one instance on the issue of Cana- 
dian reciprocity. 

By 1912, however, the liberalism of Woodrow Wilson won 
the Plain Dealer back to an active participation in presidential 


politics. It saw in the Governor of New Jersey the apostle of a 
new political and economic order in the United States. To his 
support as candidate for president the Plain Dealer cordially 
contributed with its old-time fervor. It supported all his larger 
objectives, including the major one of his second term, the pro- 
posal that America become a member of the League of Nations. 

The paper criticized him, however, for asking the election of 
a Democratic Congress in 1918. It thought his personal attend- 
ance at the Versailles Peace Conference unwise and politically 

The Plain Dealers choice for president in 1920 was James 
M. Cox, former Democratic Governor of Ohio. The League of 
Nations remained the overshadowing issue of the contest. But 
the last hope of American membership in the League was 
dashed to pieces by the Harding avalanche. 

With much diminished enthusiasm the Plain Dealer sup- 
ported Davis for president in 1924, after his nomination in a 
convention featured by a prolonged deadlock and Newton D. 
Baker's eloquent appeal to the party to reaffirm its faith in the 
League of Nations and thus stand by the dead Wilson. With 
even less warmth the paper advocated the election of Alfred 
E. Smith four years later, criticizing the illiberality of the plat- 
form he was given to stand on. 

The Plain Dealer's pre-convention candidate for the Demo- 
cratic nomination in 1932 was Newton D. Baker, whose direc- 
tion of the War Department in the Wilson Cabinet marked him 
as a man of rare administrative ability. Of his liberalism no 
question could be raised. The Plain Dealer had seen him grow 
up politically in Cleveland from the moment of his coming from 
Martinsburg, West Virginia; watched him as a young lawyer; 
approved his participation in the Johnson campaigns, his elec- 
tion as city solicitor and supported him as mayor for two terms; 
witnessed with pride his constant, expanding leadership in all 
progressive movements. 

Had Baker permitted his friends to organize a campaign for 


delegates to the Chicago convention of that year, it is easy to 
believe that he would have been at least a serious contender 
for the nomination. His high idealism as to public office, how- 
ever, and perhaps considerations of health, caused him to veto 
such proposals. Even so, Baker had a considerable following in 
the convention and might have been named, except for the mo- 
mentum of the Roosevelt advance. 

Into the first campaign of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in spite of 
disappointment over the convention's failure to recognize the 
claims of Baker, the Plain Dealer threw itself with an earnest- 
ness suggestive of earlier years. It welcomed his unhesitating 
leadership in meeting the crisis of depression. 

The second time Mr. Roosevelt ran for president the Plain 
Dealer's support of him was given with distinct and obvious re- 
luctance. The paper was fearful of his radical policies and did 
not like the " brain trust " with which he had surrounded him- 
self; it began to suspect him of being more socialistic than Dem- 
ocratic. It supported him in the hope that a re-election would 
sober his judgment and restrain his impetuosity. 

How completely this hope had been shattered by 1940 is of 
too recent knowledge to need repeating now. The Plain Dealer's 
opposition to the President for a third term was therefore a 
logical step after 1936. It was logical, too, as a step in pursuance 
of a Plain Dealer policy long in the making. 

At least as far back as the winter of 1898, in recommending 
candidates for the city council several of them Republicans 
the Plain Dealer urged the policy of independent voting when 
one's party nominates unsatisfactory candidates. 1 Later the 
same year: 

Papers that have caught the spirit of the times, no matter whether 
they advocate Democratic or Republican principles, know that the 
success of those principles is not to be achieved by blind support of 
unworthy candidates, or of men who use the party name as a cover 
for policies repugnant to the principles of the party; nor are votes to 

1 March 27. 


be won for our ticket by reckless and malicious attacks on candi- 
dates on the competing ticket. . . . 2 

" The Plain Dealer makes no secret of the fact that it is not a 
party organ/' it said in 1899. 3 

** The old-fashioned party organ/' the Plain Dealer insisted in 
1902, " is as much out of place in modern newspaperdom as the 
squeaking hurdy-gurdy of a century ago would be in a modern 
orchestra." 4 

The Plain Dealer's political independence not always, re- 
grettably, as strictly observed in the performance as in the ut- 
terance began, where charity is supposed to begin, at home. 
It led to the frequent espousal of local Republican nominees. 
It justified the Plain Dealers bolt of the Democratic state ticket 
in 1899 and its helping to defeat John R. McLean for governor. 

In one of the contracts between the Plain Dealer Publishing 
Company and Elbert H. Baker he bound himself to maintain 
the character of the publication as " an independent Democratic 

The will of Liberty E. Holden, who died in 1913, directed the 
trustees of his estate, " so far as it may seem to them wise [to] 
maintain the Cleveland Plain Dealer as an independent Demo-^ 
cratic newspaper/* This inhibition, wisely drawn in such terms 
as to give the trustees the widest possible latitude of discretion, 
expired with the trusteeship itself in 1938. 

It is clear that, even had this condition of the Holden will 
been operative in 1940, it would have been possible and logical 
for the Plain Dealer to break the precedent of a century and 
support a Republican for president of the United States. That 
it would probably have done so admits of no argument. 

The Plain Dealer supported Willkie for president because it 
believed the national interest called for his success. It could 
not have been true to itself and done otherwise. 

2 October 30. 
s October 11. 
4 July 16. 


Here is the editorial of August 1940, which was reprinted in 
scores of millions of copies and circulated by Willkie supporters 
in every state of the Union: 


The Plain Dealer supports Wendell L. Willkie for president of 
the United States. 

We come to this decision with no regard either for party names 
or political considerations. Rather, our decision is based on the best 
analysis we can make of the moral problem confronting the United 
States of America. We have reached this conclusion, which seems in- 
evitable to us, with the.regret which decent people feel about break- 
ing old ties. 

For close to a hundred years the Plain Dealer has refrained from 
supporting for president any other than Democratic candidates. 
We say this in no spirit of apology or of boastfulness, On occasions 
we were probably wrong. 

Now for the first time we depart from this century-old Plain 
Dealer tradition. We recommend the defeat of a Democrat who is 
seeking a third term to the presidency. 

If anyone reads into this an act of desertion, we insist that the 
result rests on the shoulders of Mr. Roosevelt and not on ours. 

The Plain Dealer chooses to remain Democratic. The Roosevelt 
administration, by contrast, has abandoned the Democracy of Jef- 
ferson, Jackson, Cleveland and Wilson. 

The Plain Dealer elects to abide by the idea that the country 
should make social progress as fast as it can pay for it, whereas Mr. 
Roosevelt has attempted, not a liberal, but a radical goal. The only 
possible outcome of his policies, as we see it, is State Socialism, fol- 
lowed inevitably by some form of Fascism. 

Under our system of government, if a sufficient majority can be 
obtained to amend the Constitution in a given direction, America 
may adopt any form of government known or to be known, by man. 

But we should proceed frankly and openly to such basic changes 
as these and accomplish them in the democratic way, by popular 
majorities on candidly expressed proposals. Never should we agree, 
if we hope to remain democrats, to a subtle and unacknowledged 
transformation of our state of society. 

Eight years ago we supported Franklin D. Roosevelt with bound- 
less enthusiasm. Four years ago we supported him with some misgiv- 


ings. The course of events since then, culminating in the president's 
ill-disguised and successful maneuver for a third term nomina- 
tion, forces upon us the conviction that we can no longer support the 
president whom this newspaper helped twice to elect. 

The Democratic national platform of 1932 was liberal, forthright 
and courageous. Standing on that declaration of principles Gov. 
Roosevelt as a candidate for president was impregnable. Had the 
tenets of that platform been obeyed the United States would today 
be in a far better situation financially, economically, politically 
than it now is. 

To most Americans the history of this period is too fresh in mind 
to justify repeating its lessons. 

Instead of establishing policies of economy in government, Mr. 
Roosevelt inaugurated a regime of immense and largely uncontrolled 
expenditure. In a period when the United States was at peace he 
doubled the national debt He sponsored a program of gold pur- 
chase at inflated prices, which resulted in cornering three-quarters 
of the world's supply and burying it in the Kentucky hills. He sub- 
sidized the silver producers at public expense to the tune of more 

Contrary to experience and the lessons of economy, he used un- 
numbered millions in a vain effort to borrow and spend his way 
back to prosperity. He paid farmers for not raising crops. He killed 
pigs to improve the hog market. He punished business and said that 
he did it to help men whose welfare depends on business. 

He campaigned on the class issue by denunciation of " economic 
royalists." He filled the ranks of his administration with radicals, 
leftist thinkers and social experimenters. He obtained the support 
of John L. Lewis by abdicating much of his authority to labor. He 
kept Secretary Perkins in the cabinet and remained deaf to com- 
plaints that she, Chairman Madden and many other of his appoint- 
ees, were furnishing protection for radical elements on the labor 

He tried to persuade a Congress, which proved wiser than himself, 
to pack the United States Supreme Court and bring it under the 
thumb of the executive. Stooping from his high position as president 
of all the people he prosecuted a countrywide " purge " of Demo- 
crats who had refused to do his bidding. 

Mr. Roosevelt's culminating offense against his party, his country 
and the world-wide spirit of democracy stood clearly revealed in the 
hollow and theatrical circumstances of his third term nomination at 


the Chicago convention. The talk of " drafting " the president for 
the run is veriest nonsense. His whole strategy for a year before the 
convention was to make impossible the convention's choice of any 
other candidate. 

No other Democrat was allowed to get his head above the com- 
mon level. Without declaring his candidacy, the president swept 
primary after primary, each victory a triumph for office holders 
thumbing another ride on the supposedly magical coattails. And 
then, having wangled the third nomination for himself, he forced a 
rebellious convention to name for vice president a cabinet member 
whom few in the convention really wanted. 

The example of a president voluntarily retiring at the end of his 
second term was set by Washington. It was galvanized into a prin- 
ciple by Jefferson. It became an inviolable precedent by the wisdom 
of succeeding presidents. It is almost as much a part of our funda- 
mental law as the Constitution itself. 

The situation Jefferson warned his countrymen against in 1821 
has now come to pass. An ambitious executive, finishing his second 
term and wishing another, conjures up the Old World theory that 
he alone in all America is capable of leadership, Mr. Roosevelt paints 
the portrait of The Indispensable Man, and, lo, the likeness is of 

These are perilous days in world history for any democracy to 
experiment with indispensable men. The German republic tried it. 
Italy tried it. Russia tried it. The pathway of government since the 
World War is strewn with the twisted remnants of democratic insti- 
tutions wrecked by indispensable men. 

Every modern dictator the world has known first persuaded his 
countrymen that he was indispensable to their welfare. 

America cannot afford to take the risk. No man in this still free 
republic is so wise, so strong, so exalted in character or so finely tem- 
pered by experience that the safety of the nation requires his reten- 
tion in the presidency. America is not ripe for the advent of The 
Indispensable Man. 

These facts are set down calmly by a newspaper appreciative of 
the fine qualities of human sympathy and social justice which in- 
spired the earlier days of Mr. Roosevelt's performance. These 
achievements are part of the permanent record of the era. They will 
be remembered, outlined against the dark background of economic 
fumbling and industrial failure. 

Much of this achievement will survive, regardless of the result of 


the November election. The country is committed to its perpetua- 
tion. Opposition to Mr. Roosevelt for a third term implies no repudi- 
ation of this part of his record. 

Opposing the president who seeks to violate the unwritten statute 
against a third term is Wendell L. Willkie, nominee of the Republi- 
can convention at Philadelphia. Unknown to national politics as re- 
cently as three months ago, this lawyer and business man from Indi- 
ana has become since mid-June the hope of millions whose votes, 
in the good American way, make our presidents. 

Willkie was the surprise nominee of an unbossed convention. He 
had received no primary support, and had asked for none. His nomi- 
nation came as the answer to a specific, if unspoken, demand for a 
man particularly trained to meet the problems which will face the 
administration at Washington in the next four years. 

These are problems of business, of organization, of harnessing the 
vast forces of the nation to meet the conditions of a world at war, 
perhaps to fight a war. These problems are too serious for endless 
economic experimentation; too vital to the national safety to be 
handled by a brain trust with leftist tendencies, or a candidate un- 
appreciative of cost control. 

The career of Willkie is typically American. From the beginning 
his success has been self -achieved. Born in a small town, educated in 
a state university, he began his professional career in a small city. 
From small beginnings, traveling the road common to average Amer- 
icans, he has grown into the stature of successful leadership. 

To a greater degree, perhaps, than ever before, the welfare of the 
country in the years at hand will depend on industry intelligently di- 
rected. Willkie is trained by hard knocks for his task. He has the 
confidence of industrial leaders. He possesses a record of fair deal- 
ing with labor. 

With such a leader America can rise to the first need of the times, 
which is to arm itself. 

But Mr. Roosevelt cannot persuade labor to efficient production. 
He and his advisers spent too many years helping it get more money 
for less work. 

Mr. Roosevelt cannot expect business to co-operate with him, ex- 
cept under compulsion, because his studied eflfort has been to harry 

Only on rare occasions in American political history have condi- 


tions conspired to bring to the front a man particularly qualified to 
direct affairs in the crisis. Washington was, of course, a supreme 
example. Lincoln was one, Jackson was another. 

Without suggesting similarities between men, it will seem to many 
that Willkie belongs in the galaxy of Americans mysteriously pre- 
pared for command in this critical period of the Republic. 

By the logic of our two-party system the choice for president lies 
between Wendell L. Willkie and Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Even had the president achieved a flawless record of administra- 
tion, which we have denied, the time is now at hand when he should 
retire. He cannot in sincerity say that Willkie is any less qualified 
than himself to direct the government in the next four years. 

That Mr. Roosevelt refuses to make this concession is a partial 
index of his character. It harmonizes with many executive acts since 
March, 1933. It is the trade mark of one who has come to consider 
himself The Indispensable Man. 

The Plain Dealer makes its choice without hesitation or qualifica- 

We solemnly urge the people to elect Wendell L. Willkie presi- 
dent of the United States. 


Newspaper Character, and the Plain Dealer Today 

WHAT determines newspaper character? What are the qualities 
by which men are accustomed to judge whether one paper or 
another is entitled to credit for services it has rendered to 

Like men, newspapers inevitably acquire a recognized stand- 
ing in their community. Obviously, this judgment is based on 
conduct conduct deliberately pursued year after year. It is 
determined by common observation of how a paper or a man 
acts under various sorts of circumstances; in crises, impelled 
by stirring occurrences, or under the dull routine of uninspir- 
ing events. 

Thus, again, like an individual, a newspaper definitely earns 
whatever character it has. It merely wastes its time if it tries to 
make the community think its character is something other than 
what it really is. There is, indeed, no way in the world a news- 
paper can for long successfully practice deceit. Every issue 
coming from the press is a fresh revelation of truth concerning 
the real heart of the publication. A newspaper may, alas, mis- 
represent another; happily, it cannot for long misrepresent itself. 
It lives its life under the pitiless glare of publicity. It can com- 
mand no more privacy than a town pump! 

This parallel between a man and his newspaper is intriguing. 
It may be accepted that individuals by and large have the wel- 
fare of society and the state at heart. They differ chiefly in the 

39 6 


methods chosen to advance the interests of their fellows. 

One person may make himself a crusader in the civic sense, 
noisily urging endless reforms and shouting himself red-faced 
in the public interest. His role is spectacular and interesting. 
History testifies to its usefulness. 

Of comparable service to the community is the individual, 
man or newspaper, that follows the less dramatic course of 
studying issues as they arise and deliberately identifying itself 
with such as it considers sound and rejecting the rest. Any 
community affords examples of each of these types. 

For a hundred years the Plain Dealer has followed a pretty 
consistent course of conduct toward public questions. It has not 
been radical or clamorous. Its way, deliberately chosen and 
pursued, has taken it along a less spectacular path a path 
which, without play of spotlight or ballyhoo, leads toward the 
goal of social and political betterment. 

This policy calls for the habitual espousal of sound causes, 
whether or not they happen at the moment to have a majority 
public opinion behind them. The constant emphasis on issues 
beneficial to the state has a cumulative and finally decisive 
effect, like the pounding of heavy guns against the fortifications 
of evil. In the long run it must win or society is lost. 

The Plain Dealer has from the beginning confidently relied 
on a public recognition of the merit vital to any paper of 
habitually doing an efficient job of news reporting and a sincere 
job of news interpretation. Without excellence in these things 
no publication can lay claim to being a real newspaper. 

Give people all the facts and one need not worry lest they 
make wrong or inadequate use of them. When the chief of 
police of Los Angeles undertook in vain a clean-up job in the 
California city he explained his failure by the fact that he had no 
Cleveland Plain Dealer to help him. 

" Cleveland/' he said, " cleaned up by putting facts in the 
hands of the people through an independent newspaper. When 
I tried to put the Cleveland plan into operation I found it was 


not effective without a Cleveland Plain Dealer to publish the 
facts/' 1 

This policy of newspaper devotion to complete fact report- 
ing and interpretation has not, of course, meant Plain Dealer 
indifference to public wrongs which needed correction through 
exposure. It has done its part in applying the correctives. 

Such work as that performed by William S. Couch, the Plain 
Dealer's Washington correspondent, touring the state in 1905 
to expose the influences of Cincinnati's Boss Cox, and that of 
Correspondent Ben F. Allen in 1911 helping to fight corruption 
in the legislature was proof enough, if proof were needed, that 
the paper has been not unwilling, when the occasion arose, to 
extend its journalistic powers beyond mere news reporting. 

More modern examples of the same alertness was the Plain 
Dealer's drive for better prison housing after the penitentiary 
fire in 1930; its campaign for fairer wages for women in 1933, 
which led to the enactment of Ohio's minimum-wage law; its 
exposure of election frauds in the home county; and its study 
of highway costs in the Davey state administration, followed by 
a series of articles acquainting the public with a situation which 
needed radical correction. 

In a sense, these activities are extra-journalistic. Yet a news- 
paper unwilling occasionally to engage in them would merit the 
stigma which goes with a half-done duty. 

Government is today more efficient and honest, the perils of 
traffic, many as they are, are fewer, fire hazards in public build- 
ings are reduced, civic improvements are more numerous and 
of higher quality, dishonest men are hindered in their grasp for 
power, new standards of character and efficiency exist in police 
administration in some part because the Plain Dealer,, speak- 
ing for the intelligence of an industrial city and state, has 
through critical decades insisted on these and similar move- 
ments of reform. 

1 The chief was Major James W. Everington, His statement was 
printed in the Plain Dealer on January 5, 1929. 


It has been well said that ** some institutions are venerable, 
some are useful and one is found occasionally that is both ven- 
erable and useful. . . . When an institution is found which 
has both age and a career of demonstrated usefulness to its 
credit, one may indeed pay it high tribute." 2 

The Plain Dealer takes pride in its reputation as a dependable 
newspaper. It remains today, as usual, less interested in manu- 
facturing news than in reporting fairly and fully what really 
happens in a distraught, distracting world. 

It takes time to establish newspaper dependability. The Plain 
Dealer has taken the time to establish it. 

2 Newton D. Baker to the Cleveland Y.M.C.A., October 26, 1934. 


Old Timers 

Here is a list of the Plain Dealer Old Timers, as it stood at the 
last annual meeting in January, 1941. The figure in each case 
shows the number of years the individual employee had served 
at that time. 


*V. C. POST 








F. F. UHL 





















*W. H. KNOX 



































E. W. STAHR 28 







P. D. MUNGER 27 
















A. K. GRAHAM 24 






WELL 23 
A. E. GUHR 23 
O. C. NEWCOMER, Sn. 23 


DON 22 

4 2 



















R. L. MORRIS 21 




A. F. RESS 21 




















F. E. MARKEL 20 











Abolition of slavery, 21; Plain Dealer 
resists, 79 ff; Western Reserve 
strongly supports, 83; 88, 150 ff 

Ackerman, Carl, 360 

Addison, H. M., career, 126, 126 n 

Adelbert College, 252, 252 n, 260, 266 

Advertising income, 221 

Agamemnon, 89 

Agassiz, Alexander, 260 

Agate, George R., 245 

Age of Hate, 199 n 

Airplane, 369 

Akers, W. J., 286 

Akron, 6, 213, 385 

Akron City Times, 194 

Akron Transportation Co., 170 

Alexandria Index, 45 ff 

Allen, Ben F., 278, 287, 334; career, 
336 ff ; 336 n, 360, 398 

Alpena, Mich., 337 n 

Amendments, the war, 199 

American Magazine, 334 ff 

American Newspaper Publishers As- 
sociation, 280 

American Notes, 43 ff, 48 ff 

American Party, 76 ff, 84, 125 n 

American Society of Newspaper Edi- 
tors, 340 

Amsden, Nettie Nelson, 325 

Andrews, Horace E,, 293, 293 n 

Andrews, Sherlock J., 30 

Andrews, T. F., 216 

Annexation, 55; growth by, 172, 249, 

Appointive judiciary, 318 

Appomattox, 159, 199, 323, 357 

Arcade Building, 305 

Ark, the, 10, 172 

Arlington, 343 

Armstrong, John, 176 

Armstrong, Sarah V. (Hedges), 177 

Armstrong, William Wirt: employs 
Artemus Ward, 64, 66; 106; as- 

sailed by Leader, gets note of re- 
gret from Cowles, 107; 108, 118, 
121 ff, 127; elected secretary of 
state, 143; agrees to buy Plain 
Dealer, 158; advent welcomed by 
Leader, 160; salutatory, 160; 163 ff, 
170; career, 175 ff; "major," 175 n; 
overemphasizes politics, 181; 
182 ff, 190 ff, 192 n, 193 n, 197; 
delegate to Philadelphia conven- 
tion, 199; co-operates with Vallan- 
digham to draw curtain in war is- 
sues, 201 ff; tells why Payne lost 
1880 nomination, 205; 207 ff, 210, 
221 ff, 235 ff; agrees to sell Plain 
Dealer, 237; terms of sale, 237; re- 
mains as editor, 239; 245, 263, 269, 
305, 321, 358, 362 

Arnold, Benedict, 197 

Art Gravure Corporation of Ohio, 385 

Arthur, Alfred Franklin, 251 

Ashburton Treaty, 10 

Associated Press, 98, 100, 239, 243, 
280, 295, 300, 359, 359 n, 371 

Associated Press, Illinois, 358 ff, 359 n 

Association of American Advertisers, 
275 n 

"A. T.H.,"165 

Atlanta Exposition, 326 

Atlantic & Great Western, 169, 355 

Atwater, Caleb, 8 

Auburn, O., 27, 27 n 

Audit Bureau of Circulations, 275 n 

Aurora (Philadelphia newspaper), 
188, 188 n 

Austinburg, O., 322 n 

Avery, Elroy M., 174 

Baehr, Herman, 293 
Baker, Alton F., 281 n 
Baker, Clara Maria Hall, 270 
Baker, Elbert Hall, 264; career, 269 ff; 
Baker-Kennedy contract, 264, 



272 ff ; finds peace formuk in trac- 
tion war, 277, 285, 288; publicly 
thanked by Johnson and Goff, 289; 
Shallenberger letter to, 292; sug- 
gests Tayler as arbiter, 293; 310; 
316; directs fight against Leader, 
312 ff; 323, 330, 339, 357; retires 
as general manager, 373; 287, 

Baker, Frank S., 281 n 

Baker, Henry, 270 

Baker, Ida Smith, 270 n 

Baker, Newton D.: Plain Dealer con- 
demns traction ordinance by, 291; 
312, 315; urged for president by 
Plain Dealer, 388 ff ; 399 n 

Baldwin, E. I., Hatch & Co., 253 

Baltimore, Md., 119, 119 n, 203 

Baltimore, the (steamship), 167 

Banking, wildcat, 21 

Barnburners, 21 

Barnett, Stanley P., 375, 381 

Barnum, P. T., 10 

Barry, Edwin D,, 219 

Bartlett, Nicholas, 95; career, 124 

Baseball, Cleveland's first profes- 
sional, 172; Sunday, 218 ff 

Baxter, Peter, 60 

Beach, Robert K., 282 n, 432 

Beardsley, Fred L., 60, 127 

Beautiful Cleveland, 171 

Bell, Alexander Graham, 370 

Bellamy, Paul, 338, 374 ff, 377 

Benedict, George A., 69, 95, 105; 
opinion of Lincoln, 121; 182; sees 
carpetbagger rush on Washington, 
198; 245 

Bergener, A. E. M., 384 

Berlin, 100 

Beveridge, Albert J., 4 n 

Beyer, Frederick C., 300, 300 n 

Big Four Railroad, 172 

Bimetallism, 262, 297 

Bingham Canyon, 261 

Bishop, Judge J. P., 259 

Blame, James G., 208 

Blee, Mayor Robert, 175 n 

" Bleeding Kansas," 110 

Blood, John H., 300 

Bloomers, 213 

Blossom, the, 342 

B'nai B'rith, 125 

Bole, Benjamin P., 268, 374 ff, 384 

Bole, Ckrk, 382 

Bole, Roberta H. (Mrs. Benjamin P.), 

Bolles, Henry, 13 

Bone, Estelle J., 334, 334 n 

Bone, John Herbert Aloysius: charac- 
terization of Armstrong, 183; 245, 
263; Liberty E. Holden's tribute to, 
332; career, 332 ff 

Booth, J. Wilkes, 159, 197, 216 

Borough plan, 317 

Boston, 90 

Bouton, J. B., 34, 71 

Bowdoin College, 316 n 

Bower, B. F., 300, 300 n, 324, 342 

Bratenahl Bros., 306, 306 n 

Bratenahl Village, 306 n 

Breckenridge, William C., 119 

Breslin, John S., 176 

Brokenshire, James, 66, 126, 306 

Brooklyn township, 172 

Brough, John, 148 ff 

Brown, Charles Farrar, see Ward, 

Brush, Charles F., 217, 255 

Bryan, William J., 273, 274 n, 297, 

Buchanan, James, 77; controversy 
with Gray, 109 ff ; praised by Plain 
Dealer, 112; " Cleveland's " opinion 
of, 113; 119; interprets party split, 
119 n; 132, 140, 177, 231 

Bucharest, 125 

Buel, Walker S., 360, 360 n, 380 

Buffalo, 10, 89, 95 ff, 169 n, 215, 218, 
259, 336, 385 

Buffalo Evening News, 218 

Buffalo Express, 123 

Buffalo Pilot, 92 

Buhrer, Stephen, 174 

Bulkley, Charles H., 237 ff, 241; an- 
cestry, 241 n; 245, 251, 259 ff 

Bulkley, Henry Guerdon, 259 

Bulkley, Robert J., 241 n 

Bulkley & Holden allotment, 237 

Bulkley Boulevard, 251 

Bull Run, battles of, 142 

Bulwark of the Republic, 200 

Burgess, Howard, 325 

Burton, Theodore E., 283, 285 n, 287 

Butler, Col. E. H., 218 

Butterfield, J. A., 127 

"Butternut," 143 n 



Cadiz, O., 192 

Cadwalader, Starr, 334 

Callahan, George V., 341, 341 n 

Calumet Hecla, 260 

Cambridge, Mass., 333 

Canton, N. Y., 38 

Capital City, 143 

Carrier pigeons, 90 

Carroll, P. H., 147 

Case School of Applied Science, 252, 


Cass, Lewis D., 77 
Centennial Exposition, 191 
"Central Park" (Cleveland), 173 
Chagrin Falls, O., 56 
Chamberlain, Selah, 224 
Champluin, Lake, 25 
Chardon, O., 121 
Charleston, S. C, 119, 119n, 153 
Chase, Salmon P., 79; letters of J. W. 

Gray to, 84 ff 
Chateaugay Woods, 25 
Chautauquan, the, 334 
Chewing gum, conference on, 124 
Chicago, 153, 219, 247, 250 n 
Chicago Daily News, 275 
Chicago Exposition, 263, 267 
Chicago Times, 145 n, 247 n 
Chicago Tribune, 302 
Chicago water diversion, 318 
Chisholm, Henry, 240 
Churchill, Winston, commends name 

of Plain Dealer, 16 n 
Cincinnati, 10, 43, 54, 64, 92, 95 ff, 

1 10, 124, 129, 148 n, 167, 169, 203, 

205, 247 ff, 362 
Cincinnati Commercial, 364 
Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, 244 
Cincinnati Enquirer, 107, 145 n, 225, 


Cincinnati Gazette, 143, 362 
Cincinnati Times, 122 
Circulation, 54, 60, 220, 242 n, 243; 

Baker squeezes water out of, 274, 

274 n, 275; 299, 323; controversy 

hHwwn Plain Dealer and Lead&r, 

328 ff 

City-manager plan, Plain Dealer sup- 
ports, 317 
Civil service, Plain Dealer attitude 

toward, 207 ff 
Civil War, 81, 88, 110, 128, 135, 175, 

177, 188, 194, 207, 214 ff, 235, 240, 

247 ff, 253, 262, 268 ff, 306, 351; 
reporting of, 354; attitude of Plain 
Dealer toward, see Lincoln 

Clark, Maggie, 127 

Clark, Dr, W. A., S04 

Clay, Henry, 80 

Cleaveland, Moses, 3 ff, 7, 9 

Cleveland, Grover, 178, 208, 246, 

Cleveland, James D., 66, 91; career, 
123, 124; 129 ff, 157, 190, 252 

Cleveland: in 1842, 3ff; becomes vil- 
lage, then city, 3; population in 
1840, 4; panic of 1837, 6; helped 
by Ohio Canal, 6; attitude toward 
railroads, 7; characterized by Caleb 
Atwater, 8; water commerce in 
1834, 8; geographical extent of, 9; 
community of newspapers, 10; 
transplanted New England com- 
munity, 10; at end of Civil War, 
166 ff; racial changes, 167, 248; 
eminence in shipbuilding, 168, 182; 
in 1885, 246 ff; cumbersome pkn of 
government, 247; expanding area, 

Cleveland Academy of Music, 251 

Cleveland Advertiser, 13, 16 ff; salu- 
tatory, 14; sold to Grays, 14, 27 ff, 
59, 75, 101; condition of, when 
bought by Plain Dealer, 18, 27 

Cleveland & Mahoning Railroad, 169 

Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad, 8, 

Cleveland & Toledo Railroad, 169 

Cleveland Argus, 241 

Cleveland Athletic Club, 325 

Cleveland banks, 249, 287 

Cleveland Board of Education, 128 

Cleveland Board of Health, 248 

Cleveland Board of Trade, 168 

Cleveland Builders* Exchange, 290 

Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, 98, 
277, 286, 307 n, 326 

Cleveland City Club, 265, 340 

Cleveland city flag, 326 

Cleveland City Hall, 173 ff, 258, 
285 ff, 288, 310, 317 

Cleveknd City Pkn Commission, 
311 n 

Cleveknd College, 307 n 

Cleveknd, Columbus & Cincinnati 
Railroad, 28, 169 



Cleveland Commercial, 126 
Cleveland Commercial (Times), 331, 

331 n 
Cleveland Commercial Intelligencer, 


Cleveland Community Fund, 280 
Cleveland Co., 331 n, 384 
Cleveland Driving Park Co., 237 
Cleveland Electric Illuminating Build- 
ing, 172 
Clevelander, the (newspaper), 125, 

125 n 
Cleveland Electric Street Railroad, 

287 ff, 291 n, 293 n, 299 
Cleveland Evening Dispatch, 144 n 
Cleveland Evening Herald, 243 
Cleveland Evening News, 243, 298 
Cleveland Express, 223 
Cleveland fire department, 171 
Cleveland Free Trade Club, 193 
Cleveland Gatherer, 13 
Cleveland Gazette, 101 
Cleveland Globe, 85 n, 118 n, 231 ff, 


Cleveland Grays, 147, 153 
Cleveland Group Plan, 173, 278 ff, 

308, 310 ff, 311 n, 418 
Cleveland Harbor of Refuge, 254 
Cleveland Herald: on city's water 
commerce, 8; 12 ff, 29; accuses 
Plain Dealer of theft, 33 ff; 39, 43, 
52 n; greets daily Plain Dealer, 54; 
attitude toward Mexican War, 55, 
55 n, 351; 59, 59 n, 60, 69; Mark 
Twain offered share in, 71 n; loyal 
to Whigs, 80; 89, 92; " rat-tail file," 
93 ff ; gets news intended for Plain 
Dealer, 95; 96, 99; assailed by For- 
est City Democrat, 102; by Leader, 
102; lies, Plain Dealer says, 103; es- 
tablishes Sunday edition, 106; Har- 
ris leaves to join Leader, 107; 108; 
uses ** Cleveland " letter to embar- 
rass Gray, 113; 114, 116, 122, 127, 
129, 144, 149, 157, 160, 164; on 
city's eminence in shipbuilding, 168; 
171 n, 179, 182 ff, 187, 189; on 
Plain Dealer Editor Morgan, 189; 
194 ff; opposes Johnson impeach- 
ment, 197; criticizes Johnson's 
acquittal, 198; 204, 212, 214 ff; re- 
porters arrested, 218; 220 ff; be- 
comes corporation, 222 n, 223 ff; 
226 n, 227, 236; history of, 240; 

how Hanna lost, 241; suspends 
publication, 242; 244 ff, 247, 254, 
257, 263, 269 ff, 270 ff, 305 ff, 
321 ff, 332 ff, 335, 351 ff, 353 n, 383 

Cleveland Herald and Gazette, 93, 

Cleveland home-rule charter, 315 

Cleveland Hotel, 9, 172, 254 

Cleveland House, 9 

Cleveland Independent News-Letter, 
13, 22 n, 158 

Cleveland Leader, 35, 49, 54 n, 69, 
78; formed by merger, 78 n; assails 
Plain Dealer for "Nebraska vil- 
lainy," 79, 81 n; on spirit of liberty, 
83, 84, 84 n, 95, 97, 99 ff; de- 
nounces Herald, 102; on Demo- 
crats, 102, 102 n; assailed by Plain 
Dealer, answers, 103; attacks J. W. 
Gray, 105; establishes Sunday edi- 
tion, 106; protests against Plain 
Dealer Sunday prize-fight extra, 
107; says Gray " despises Pierce," 
111, 112; compliments Gray, 114, 
115ff, 124 ff; discusses offer of 
Plain Dealer for sale, 132; 135, 
135 n; pays tribute to dead foe, 137; 
140 n; appraises elections of 1862, 
143; 143 n; chides Plain Dealer for 
backsliding, 143 ff; 144 n; assails 
Plain Dealer for war attitude, 148; 
157, 160; welcomes Armstrong to 
Cleveland, 160; 164; complains of 
cows at large, 170; 175 n; assails 
Plain Dealer's war record, 179; on 
Armstrong and the "bummer ele- 
ment," 182; characterizes Arm- 
strong, 183 n, 184; 187, 192 ff; 
accuses Plain Dealer of copperhead- 
ism, 197; opposes Johnson impeach- 
ment, but demands his conviction, 
197; 204; chides Plain Dealer for 
"barnyard display," 207; 209, 
213 n, 216, 218; becomes corpora- 
tion, 221; 220, 220 n, 221 n, 223 ff, 
229, 236; "explains" Holden pur- 
chase, 239; new competition prom- 
ised, 240 ff; takes part of Herald 
assets, 242; complains of morning 
Plain Dealer, 244; 247, 253 ff ; criti- 
cizes Holden, 267; 271, 271 n; opin- 
ion of Baker-Kennedy lease, 272 n; 
273 n; overconfidence plays into 
Plain Dealer hand, 276, 324; 282, 


295, 296 n, 297 n, 298, 324; sold to 
Charles A. Otis, 299; 300; half- 
interest sold to Medill McCormick, 
then to Dan R. Hanna, 302; 302 n; 
sold to Hanna, 303; morning edition 
sold to Plain Dealer, Sunday edi- 
tion linked with News, 303; 308; 
accuses Plain Dealer of "butting 
into Group Plan," 310; 314 n; loses 
battle to Plain Dealer and suspends, 

321 ff; prosperous under Cowles, 
323; 325; circulation fight with 
Plain Dealer, 328 ff 

" Cleveland " letter on Buchanan, 113 

Cleveland Morning Mercury, 12 

Cleveland Morning News, 12 

Cleveland Museum of Art, 266 

Cleveland Museum of Natural His- 
tory, 342 

Cleveland Music Hall, 251 

Cleveland News, 243, 299, 300 n, 
400 n; sold to Dun R. Hanna, sells 
Sunday edition to Plain Dealer, 
303; 308, 335, 338, 375, 383 ff 

Cleveland News and Herald, 243, 282, 
295 ff, 296 n, 297 n, 298; sold to 
Charles A. Otis, 299; 300, 300 n, 

Cleveland News-Leader, 303 

Cleveland Non Explosive Lamp Co., 

Cleveland Opera House, 251 

Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula 
Railroad, 124, 169 

Cleveland Park Board, 267 

Cleveland Press, 230, 230 n, 243, 282, 
294 n, 295 ff, 296 n, 308, 314 n, 
339, 495 

Cleveland Press Club, 193 

Cleveland Public Library, 127, 174, 
194, 197 n, 279 

Cleveland Public Square; in 1842, 3; 
history of, 8; fenced, 9; 170; 172 ff; 
in 1885, 253; demonstration of 
electric arc light, 255; 259, 287, 

Cleveland Railway Co., 291, 291 n, 
298 n 

Cleveland Recorder, 300 n, 322 ff, 

322 n; subsidized by Johnson, 324; 
sells to Plain Dealer, 324; 342 

Ckwland Review, 114, 214 
Cleveland Rolling Mills, 240 
Cleveland School of Music, 251 

Cleveland Schools, 251 
Cleveland Society for Savings, 249 
Cleveland Sunday Voice, 106, 223, 

Cleveland Times (see Cleveland 

Commercial], 34; prospectus, 58 ff; 

merged with Plain Dealer, 60; 101; 

defends Postmaster Spencer, attacks 

Gray, 103; 231, 322 
Cleveland Township, 172 
Cleveland Town Topics, 331 
Cleveland traction war, 282 ff ; Judge 

Knappen's ruling, 291, 309 ff 
Cleveland True Democrat, 34, 54 n; 

praises Plain Dealer, 56, 60; attacks 

Gray, 73, 73 n; origin, 78 n, 80, 101, 

224, 322 ff 

Cleveland Trust Co., 268 
Cleveland waterworks, 3, 254 
Cleveland Whig, 28 
Cleveland World, 282; sold to Charles 

A. Otis, 299 ff; 300 ff, 300 n, 308, 


Cleveland World-News, 299 
Cobleigh, Nelson S., 192, 223, 239 
Cock fighting, 216 
Colby University, 258 
Collins, Byron A,, 382 
Collins, William A,, 127 
Collinwood school disaster, 310 
Columbia, District of, 81 
Columbiana County, 176 
Columbus, O., 10, 89, 92, 95, 129, 200, 

229, 281, 343 
Columbus Capital, 192 
Columbus Dispatch, 338 
Columbus Journal, 192 
Concord, Mass., 241 n 
Constitution, the, and the Democratic 

Party in Civil War, 145 
Coon, John, 33 ff, 34 n, 108 
Cooney, R. J., 285 
Co-operative Printing Co., 222 
Corinth, Miss,, 147 
Cornell University, 127 
Cornwall, Engknd, 832 n 
Corwin, Thomas, 10, 21, 76 
Cost of living, 215 

Couch, William Sykes, 336, 336 n, 398 
Courthouse cornerstone, 197 n 
Cowles, Edwin, 78 n, 87, 95; Plain 

Dealer opinion of, 101 ff, 105 ff; 

assailed by Plain Dealer for Sunday 

edition, 106; apologizes to W. W. 



Armstrong, 107; 171, 182, 221, 241, 

245, 271, 321 ff, 322 n 
Cox, James M., 388 
" Crime of 1876," 204 
Crittenden Compromise, 150, 150 n 
CroweU, G. W., 215 
Cuba, clean up and annex, Plain 

Dealer argues, 208 
CudeU, Frank E., 278 
Cumberland Gap, 188 n 
Cuyahoga Building, 254 
Cuyahoga County, 6; courthouse on 

the square, 8; 77, 137; courthouse 

off the square, 172 ff, 178 ff 
Cuyahoga River, 3, 5, 5 n, 6 ff, 166 ff, 

172, 259; improvement of, a Plain 

Dealer policy, 318 

Dallas, 147 

David and Goliath, 321 ff 

Davis, Elmer, 357 n 

Davis, John W., 388 

Davis, Peixotto & Co., 170 

Dayton Empire, 145 n 

" Deacon Gray " (N, A.), 41 

Delaware Herald, 207 

Democratic Party: steadfast policies 
of, 80; 84, 119, 140; and the Con- 
stitution, 145; 161, 180, 182 n,. 190, 
201 ff, 305 

Denison University, 270 

Dennis, R. B,, 54 

Detroit, 10, 90, 92, 124, 127, 250 

Dickens, Charles, 43 ff ; opinion of 
American editors, 50 

Disney, Olds and Green, 197 n 

Doan Brook, 251 

Dodge, H. H., 32 

Dodge, Ossian E., 104, 104 n 

Donahey, James Harrison, 360, 379 

Dorr Rebellion, 10 

Douglas, Stephen A.: parallels life of 
J. W. Gray, 30; "effigy on every 
tree/' 79; and Buchanan, 109 ff; 
118, 132, 134, 136, 140, 177, 

Dow, Jesse E., 45 

Dred Scott case, 119 n 

Drum Block, 306 

Duane, William, 188 

Du Pont, A. B., 290 

Duranty, Walter, 360 

Duty, F. Jennie, 325 

Eagle-Eyed News Catcher, 12 

East Cleveland, 217, 249, 249 n, 260, 


East Cleveland street-car line, 169 
East Ohio Gas Co., 277 
Edison, Thomas A., 217 
Eells, Don P., 240 
Electoral College, Plain Dealer would 

abolish, 208 ff 
Electoral Commission, 204 
Ellsler, John A., 251 
Elyria, O., 14, 153 n, 194 
Emancipation Proclamation, 62, 145 ff 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 49 
Erie Street Cemetery, 138 
Essex County, N. Y., 238 n 
Euclid Avenue, 171 ff, 253 
Euclid Avenue Congregational 

Church, 280 

Euclid Avenue Temple, 344 
Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard, 28 In 
Evening Post (Cleveland), 264 ff, 

296 ff, 296 n, 307, 387 
Eve of Conflict, The, 79 n 
Everett, Henry A., 285 
Everett, L. S., 193 
Everett, S. T., 240 
Everett-Moore Syndicate, 279 
Everington, Maj. James W., 398 n 

Fairbanks, A. W., 240 

Fairhaven, Conn., 344 n 

Fairmount Reservoir, 254 

Fairview Park, 254 

Farley, Mayor John, 284, 286, 326 

Farmington, O., 246 n 

Federal Building, 10, 254 

Federal plan of government found 
unconstitutional, 286 

Federal Reserve Bank, 277, 320 

Fenn, Edward P., 170 

Fifteenth Amendment, Ohio's atti- 
tude toward, 200; Plain Dealer op- 
poses, 200 ff 

Fifty Years of Cleveland, 185, 242 n, 
273 n, 331 n 

Fillmore, Millard, 125 n 

Flagler, H. M,, 240 

Flint, Mayor Edward S., 174 

Flood, Charles B,, 118, 310 

Flora Stone Mather College, 252 n 

Fogg, William Perry, 240 

Foraker, Joseph B., 194 



Foran, Martin A., 178 

Forest City (newspaper), 78n; pays 
tribute to Gray, 87; 123, 224, 322 ff 

Forest City Democrat, 78, 78 n; de- 
nounces Herald, 102 

Forest City House, 172, 254 

Forest City Publishing Co., 374 n, 
384 ff 

Forest City Railway Co., 291 n 

Forster, John, 45 

Foster, David P., 222 

Foster, Mary K., 37 

Fourteenth Amendment, 200 

Franklin, Benjamin, 5, 39 

Franklin House, 10, 13, 304, 305 n 

Frederick, Md., 190 

Free Democrats, 76 ff 

Free Soil Party, 73, 75, 77, 80, 85 

Freiberger, I. F. 5 374, 376, 384 

Fremont, John C., 77; nominated for 
president by anti-Lincoln Republi- 
cans, 151; I51n 

Fremont (O.) Messenger, 179 

Fresh Air Camp, 126 

Fusion, political, 78 

Gardner, George W., 247 

Garfield, James A., Plain Dealer cor- 
dial toward, 207; 227 

Garfield Monument, 251 

Garfield Park, 250 

Garrison, William Lloyd, 74, 133, 210 

Gas lights for Cleveland, 56, 230 

George, Henry, 324 

German editors, 100 

Germania (newspaper), 167, 167 n 

Germany, immigrants from, 167 

Gettysburg, 121, 146, 355 ff 

Giddings, Joshua R., 133 

Glcason, William J., 147, 194, 222 ff, 

Godkin, Edwin L., 296, 296 n 

Goff, Frederick H., 268, 289 ff, 374, 

Gordon, Charles, 222 

Gordon Park, 251, 254 ff, 266 

Goulder, Harvey D., 98 

Graham, Sterling E., 375, 379 

Granite, Plain Dealer fights for, 316 

Grant, U. S., 125, 205, 209 

Grasty, Charles H., 360 

Gray, Admiral Nelson: with brother 
J. W. buys Advertiser, 14; 23; birth, 

25; 26; career in Cleveland, 40 ff; 
leaves Plain Dealer, 51; 52, 138 n, 

Gray, Arrimi N., 26; and see Gray, 
Nicholas A. 

Gray, A. N. & J. W., partnership, 
launches weekly Plain Dealer, 14, 
27; dissolved, 51 ff 

Gray, A. P., 41 n 

Gray, Asa, 23 n 

Gray, Beardsley, Spear & Co., 127, 

Gray, Beulah, 24 

Gray, Elizabeth Case, 24 ff, 40 

Gray, Eugene, 130, 130 n 

Gray, Helen Celeste (Mrs. John S. 
Stephenson), 139 

Gray, Josephine, 130 

Gray, Joseph William: with brother 
A. N. buys Advertiser, 14; 19; law 
student, 20; delays first issue for 
better head, 20; story of, 23 ff; 
characterized, 23, 40; ancestry, 
23 ff; birth, 25; does farm work, 26; 
education, 26; comes to Cleveland, 
26; teaches school, then studies law, 
27; party "boss/' 28; replies to 
Greeley libel suit, 29; defends his 
democracy and pays tribute to Silas 
Wright, 31; "assaulted'* by John 
Coon, 33; postmaster, 34; loses die 
office, 34; candidate for Congress, 
34, 182; arrested for littering street, 
35; abstemious habits, 35; an irate 
subscriber, 36; uses chess terminol- 
ogy, 36; married, 37; denies his 
own death, 38; no spiritualist, 39; 
pioneer in news illustration, 39; 
first to print daily market reports, 
40; and Charles Dickens, 44; jingo, 
47; contrast in character with 
brother, 52; announces evening edi- 
tion, 53; joins other employers for 
shorter work day, 56; deplores slav- 
ery, 58; feud with Spencer, 59, 
60 ff; employs Artemus Ward, 65; 
loved dancing, 69; friction with 
Artemus Ward, 70; minority editor, 
73 ff; recalls difficulties in getting 
started, 75; refuses to concede that 
" liberty " and " abolition " are 
synonyms, 79; offers in letter to 
Chase to sell half-interest in paper, 



85; recalls early struggles to survive, 
86; praised by Forest City, 87; as 
taxpayer, 88; 91 ff; Harris and die 
" rat-tail file," 93 ff ; letter to Hudson 
postmaster, 94; 95; 98; Leader's 
opinion of, 99 ff; 105; Times' s opin- 
ion of, 101, 103; called in song 
"prince of liars," 105; loses eye, 
105 n; praises Harris under misap- 
prehension, 107; praised by Leader 
after his death, 108; fights Bu- 
chanan, 109 ff; supports Douglas, 
HOff; "Little Giant's pet dwarf," 
111; 112; embarrassed by "Cleve- 
land " letter, 113; complimented by 
Leader, 114; resents " telegraphic 
slander," 114fT; dismissed as post- 
master, 115; discusses dismissal, 
117; works for Douglas at Charles- 
ton and Baltimore, 119; 120 ff, 
123 ff, 126 ff, 129; accident and 
death, 130; attitude toward mem- 
bership in Congress, 133 ff; suc- 
cumbs to paralysis, 136; Union 
man, 136; financial policy, 137; 
place in community, 137; 140; de- 
nounces Vallandigham, 141; talks 
with Lincoln, 141; 157 ff, 166, 169, 
177, 179, 182, 204; on woman suf- 
frage, 210, 231, 235, 245, 257 ff, 
269, 305 ff, 319, 321, 354, 361 ff 

Gray, Lavinia, 24 n 

Gray, Louis, 130 

Gray, Mary Foster (Mrs. J. W.), 37; 
recommends John S. Stephenson 
for administrator, 139; asks court 
to remove Stephenson, 153, 176 

Gray, Nicholas A., 24; birth, 25; at 
St. Lawrence Academy, 26; comes 
to Cleveland, 26; career of, 41 ff, 
139 n 

Gray, Ransom, 24 n, 40 n 

Gray, Rowan H., 41 n 

Gray, Ruth, 24 n 

Gray,Vel, 24ff,40 

Great Neck, L. I., 247 

Greeley, Horace: sues for libel, 29 ff; 
"Plain Dealer supports for president, 
30, 203; 115, 117, 133 

Green, Arnold, 231 

Green, Frederick W., becomes half 
owner of Plain Dealer, 190; 191, 
197, 197 n, 220 ff 

Greenough, Mrs. Emery H., 374 

Griswold, Alplionse Minor, 91; career, 

Gross, John G., 222 

Hadden, John A., 384 

Haines, William, 147 

Hale, William Bayard, 312 n 

Hall, Calvin, 14 

Hall, Franklin, 479 

Hall, Dr. Jeremiah, 270 

Hall of Fame ( O. S. U. ), 339, 339 n 

Hamilton College, 123 

Hamilton County, 201 

Hampson, James B., 147 

Hancock, Winfield S., 205, 207, 227, 

Hanna, Carl H., 384 n 

Hanna, Dan R.: buys Cleveland 
Leader, 302; buys News, 303; 330, 
338, 384 n 

Hanna, Dan R., Jr., 384, 384 n 

Hanna, Marcus Alonzo, 241, 251; 
fights Johnson traction policies, 
286 ff; 445, 504 n 

Hanna, Marcus Alonzo II, 384, 384 n 

Hanna, M. A., Co., 341 

Hanna, Ruth, 302 

Hanna Theater, 251 

Harding, Warren G., 319 

Harmon, Judson, 314 

Harrington, Benjamin, 115, 118 

Harris, Josiah A,, 29, 54, 69; "rat- 
tail file," 93; praised by Plain 
Dealer, 107; leaves Herald for 
Leader, 107; erects building for 
Herald, 305; 333, 351 

Harrison, Carter, 250 n 

Harrison, William Henry, 10, 76 

Harte, Bret, 71 

Harvard University, 241 n, 341 

Hay, Clara L. Stone Mather, 252 n, 

Hay, John, 252 n, 307 

Hayes, Rutherford B., 125; "His 
Fraudulently," 181; 204, 209 

Heckewelder, Rev. John, 5 

Hedges, Josiah, 177 

Heisley, Echo M., 231 

Henderson, Charles T., 193 n 

Henderson, Gilbert W., career, 192 ff, 
192 n, 239, 258 

Hendrick, Burton J., 200 

Hepburn, A. Barton, 24, 24 n 

Hepburn, G. W,, 127 



Hepburn, Susie E. (Mrs. Robert K. 
Beach), 326 

Herald Building, 111, 242, 242 n, 305; 
Plain Dealer occupies, 306 

Highland Cemetery, 138 n 

Hinsdale, B. A., 251 

Hiram College, 251 

Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 84 

Hoadley, George, 246 

Hodge, O. J., 283 

Hoe, Richard M., 361 

Hoe, R., & Co., 363 

Holden, Albert Fairchild, 268, 272 ff, 
301, 373 

Holden, Delia Elizabeth Bulkley, 259, 
259 n, 268, 373 ff 

Holden, Ezra, 261 

Holden, Guerdon Steams, 268, 373 ff, 
376, 384 

Holden, John, 256 

Holden, L. Dean, 296 ff, 298 n 

Holden, Liberty Emery, 16 n, 122, 
193 n, 235 ff; agrees to buy Plain 
Dealer, 237 ff; terms of purchase, 
237; 241, 251; career, 256 ff; Lead- 
ers tribute to, 267 n; 270 ff, 282, 
296 ff, 306, 307; tariff-for-revenue 
advocate, 320; 321; tribute to Bone, 
332; 338; trustees of estate, 373; 
will recommends " independent 
Democratic" status for the Plain 
Dealer, 390 

Holden, Peter, 257 

Holden, Roman R., 193, 193 n, 237 ff, 

Hollenden Hotel, 253, 261, 298 n, 309, 

Home Rule for Cities, 314 ff 

Hoop skirts, 9, 213, 213 n 

Hopkins, William R., 285, 285 n 

Hopwood, Erie C., 258, 338; career, 
339 ff, 339 n, 342, 347, 373, 374, 

Horseless carriage, the, 218, 250 

Housemaid protests, 212 

Howard, N, R., 375 

Howe, Eber D., 89 

Howells, William Cooper, 343, 343 n 

Howells, William Dean, 343 

Hower & Higbee, 253 

Hoyt, George: on J. W. Gray, 39; 
42 n, 45 n, 66; career, 121 ff; 191, 
222 ff, 239,356 

Hudson, O,, 76, 93 ff, 252 

Hughes, Arthur, 144 
Hughes, John W., 216 
Hunkers, 33 
Husband, J. J., 197 n 

Income tax, 320 

Ingham, Mrs. Howard M., 325 

Initiative and referendum, 314ff 

International Paper & Power Co., 268 

Iowa, 153 n 

Irishtown bend, 172 

Iron, 167 ff, 248, 260 

"Iron Gray" (A. N.),41 

Ithaca, N. Y., 338 n 

Jackson, Andrew, 6, 109, 109 n, 216 

Jackson, Morris, 157 

James, Edwin L., 360 

Jefferson, O., 343 

Jefferson, Thomas, 11, 243 

Jefferson College, 122 

Jewett, Hugh J., 141 

Jewish Independent, 335 

Job printing, 305, 305 n 

Johnson, Allen, 11 

Johnson, Andrew, 196 ff; Leader re- 
sists impeachment, but argues for 
conviction, 197; Herald opposes im- 
peachment, 197; Plain Dealer turns 
prophet at death of, 201 

Johnson, Cave, 59, 231 

Johnson, George W., 127 

Johnson, Mat, 118 

Johnson, Tom L., 98, 250, 274, 278; 
solicits and gets Plain Dealer sup- 
port, 283; agrees to run for mayor, 
284; 285 ff; opposes Tayler plan, 
294; 299, 301, 310 ff, 318, 320, 322; 
contributes to support of Cleve- 
land Post, 324, 324 a 

Judson, George, 222 

Juneau County ( Wis, ) Argus, 171 

Kalamazoo College, 258 ff 

Kansas, "bleeding," 110, 112 

Kansas City, 247 n, 270 

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 79, 112 

Kelley, Madison, 13 

Kelly, Abby, 133, 210 

Kennedy, Charles E., 126; word pic- 
ture of Armstrong, 185; 242 n, 245, 
263 ff, 271; career, 271 n; leaves 
Plain Dealer, 272; joins Leader y 
273; bitter toward Plain Dealer, 


273, 273 n; 282 ff, 288, 297, 323 ff, 

330, 331 n, 339, 373, 387 
Kennedy, James H., 246, 246 n, 271 n 
Kentucky Reservoir, 254 
King, Leister, 21, 76 
Kinney & Levan, 307 n 
Kinsman street-car line, 169 
Klondike, the, 262 
Knight, Percy, 316, 316 n 
Know-Nothing Party, see American 


La Jolla, Gal, 270 n 

Lake Erie Telegraph Co., 96 

Lake Shore Railroad, 124 

Lake View Cemetery, 251 

Leacock, Stephen, 50 

Leader Building, 303 

League of Nations, 319, 337, 388 

Leased wire service, 275, 358, 360 

Leaven worth, Kan., 238 n 

Lecompton Constitution, 109 ff, 231 

Lee, Robert E., 152, 159, 197 

Leggett, William, 19 

Leutkemeyer Hardware Store, 157, 
157 n, 176 

Levins, J. J., 384 

Lewis, Alfred Henry, 247 n 

Lewis, Irving J., 247 n 

Lewis, Mary, 41 

Lewis, William E., 247, 247 n 

Libel, suits for, 29, 59, 223 

Liberalism in America, 316 

Liberator, 73 ff 

Liberty Party, 21 n, 54, 75, 76 ff, 80 

Lilley, Charles J., 338 n 

Lilley, Edward B., 338, 338 n 

Lilley, Merrill Edward, 338 n 

Lincoln, Abraham, 4n; entertained 
by Artemus Ward, 62; Plain Dealer 
agrees with, on issue of Civil War, 
81; 82, 119, 125, 135, 136, 140; 
talks with Gray, 141; 146 ff; Plain 
Dealer charges with "unfaithful- 
ness,** 145; 147; doubts his own re- 
election, 150; removal demanded 
by Plain Dealer, 151; Plain Dealer 
sure cannot be re-elected, iSl; 159; 
eulogized by Plain Dealer 9 162; 
197 n, 199, 252 n 

Lippard, George, 113 

" Little Giant's pet dwarf," 111 

Livery stable, Plain Dealer occupies 
temporarily, 309 

Local column, 91 

Lorain Constitutionalist, 194 

Los Angeles, 397 

Los Angeles Express and Tribune, 338 

Lowell, James Russell, 333 

Lyon, 125 

Madigan, Joseph V., 382 

Madisori, N. Y., 123 

Madrid, N. Y., 24 ff, 40 

Mails, uncertain, 92 

Mammoth Cave, 342 

Maple Leaves, 127 

Marshall, George F., 128, 157 

Mather, Flora Stone, 252 n 

Mather, Samuel, 335 n 

Matthews, Stanley, 85, 85 n, 208 

May, William J., 125 n 

McCahill, C. F., 384 

McCarrens, John J., 383 

McCarrens, John S., 374, 377, 384 

McClellan, George B,, 142; Plain 

Dealer urges for governor, 148; 

Plain Dealer supports for president, 

150; suggests nomination in 1868, 


McClure's Magazine, 335 
McConkie, C. C., 378 
McConnellsville, O., 343 
McCormick, Medill, 302, 330 
McDermott, William F., 381 
McGinley, Mrs, Gertrude H., 374 
McKinley, William, 177 n, 336, 387 
McLain, David B., 13 
McLaren, William Edward, 35 n, 71; 

career, 122 ff 
Medary, Samuel, 31 
Medill, James, 78 n 
Medill, Joseph, 78 n, 302, 358 
Medina judge, 128 
Merchants* Exchange Building, 157 


Meridian Printing Co., 300 ff 
Mcrrick, William R., 339 
Mexican War, 55, 83 n, 187; reporting 

of, 351 ff 

Michigan Farmer, 385 
Middletown, O., 339 
Mills, Dr. Joshua A., 45 n 
Milton, George Fort, 79 n, 199 n 
Missouri Compromise, 197 
Mobile, Ala., 352 
Mobile Tribune, 353 
Montgomery County, 202 



Monumental Park, 173 

Morgan, Gen. George W., 187 

Morgan, William Duane, 176 ff; buys 
half-interest in Plain Dealer, 187; 
career, 187; 190, 220 ff 

Morgan's Raid, 97 

Motor-car, as aid in news-gathering 
and dissemination, 371 

Municipal Auditorium, 317 

" Municipal Day,'* 289 

Municipal Light Plant, 318 

Municipal Traction Co., 288 ff; receiv- 
ership, 290; 291 n 

Murphy, Fred, 385 

Musldngum River, 5 

Myers, E. S,, 180 

Myers, John M., 180 

My Story, 324 n 

Napier, Macvey, 50 

National City Bank of Cleveland, 

279 n 
National Democrat, Cleveland, 117ff, 

123, 132, 134, 134 n, 231, 322 
National Hall, 172 
Neff, Lizzie Hyer, 325 
Negro colonization, 82 
Newark Advocate, 188 ff 
Newburg, 6, 331 

New England: Western Reserve's re- 
lations to, 10; 64, 167, 258 
New England Society, 280 
" New Freedom," defined by Wilson, 

312, 312 n 

New Lisbon, O., 176, 188 
New Orleans, 90, 95, 470 
News, difficulty in getting, 89 ff 
New York, 10, 89, 95 ff, 169 n, 271, 

327 ff 
New York Associated Press, 90, 96 ff, 

115, 353 ff 

New York Central Railroad, 169 n 
New York Evening Mirror, 53 
New York Evening Post, 19, 95, 296 
New 'York Herald, 78; on Western 

editors, 102; 356 
New York Journal of Commerce, 71, 

145 n 

New York Morning Telegraph, 247 n 
New York Sun, 91, 365 
New York Times, correspondent 

writes of Gray and postoffice, 118; 

241,277, 357 n, 360 
New York Tribune, 29; Washington 

reporter discusses Postmaster Gray, 

114; "sorry for Gray's dismissal,** 

116; 133 
New York World, 145 n; reporter 

finds Cleveland beautiful, 171; 192, 


Niagara University, 377 
Nickel Plate Railroad, 172 
Norfolk, Va., 316 n 
Norris, Senator George W., 268 n 
North, W. C, 147 
North Bloomfield, O., 341 n 
North Eaton, O., 339 n 
Norwalk, O., 270 

Oberlin College, 76, 334, 334 n, 337, 


Ochs, Adolph, 277 
Ohio American, 54, 54 n, 80 
Ohio & Kentucky Petroleum & Min- 
ing Co., 170 
Ohio "black laws": Plain Dealer 

condemns, 81; described, 81 n 
Ohio Canal: foreseen by Washington, 

5 ff; importance to Cleveland, 6 ff ; 


Ohio City, 4, 54 ff, 172 
Ohio Constitution of 1912, 313 
Ohio Farmer, 385 
Ohio in the War, 188 n 
Ohio National Guard, 343 
Ohio News Bureau, 282 n 
Ohio Patriot, 188 
Ohio River, 7 
Ohio State Journal, 78 
Ohio Statesman, 31, 42 
Ohio State University, 339 ff 
Ohio Wesleyan University, 378 
Old Jordan and South Galena mine, 


Old Stone Church, 9, 254 
Old Telegraph mine, 261 
Olmsted Falls, O., 78 n 
Ontario, Cal, 338 n 
Ontario Street, 8, 172 
" Open Sunday/' the, 219 
Oshkosh, Wis., 238 n 
Otis, Charles A.; buys three evening 

papers, 299 ff; 330, 338 

Pacific Telegraph Co., 97 
Paine, " Bob/' 339 
Painesville, O., 10, 35, 60 
Panic of 1837, 6 



Paper, consumption, 329 ff 

Paper, rag and wood pulp, 365 flE 

Paris, 111., 338 n 

Parker, Alton B., 387 

Parsons, Richard C., 129, 240 ff, 254 

Pasadena, Gal, 246 n, 344 n 

Passenger pigeon, 211 

Payer, Harry, 284 

Payne, Henry B., 20, 27, 128, 157; 
Plain Dealer favors for president, 
205; 205 n, 208, 246 

Payne, O. H, 222 

Peets, Elijah, 55 

Peixotto, Benjamin Franklin, career, 
124 ff, 124 n, 170 

Peixotto, Dr. Daniel Maduro, 124 n 

Pelton, Fruch & Co., 170 

Pendleton, George H,, 85 n, 203, 207, 
209, 231 

Peninsula, fighting on the, 142 

Penniman & Bemis, 305 

Pennsylvania Farmer, 385 

Pennsylvania Railroad, 169 

Perdue, Eugene H., 276 

Perry Monument, 130 n, 172, 254 

Petroleum, 167 ff ; " ludicrous noises," 
216, 248 

Philadelphia, 188, 199 

Philadelphia Courier, 261 

Photo-engraving, 367 

Pickwick Papers, 43 

Pierce, Franklin, 33 ff, 77, 110 ff 

Piper, A. N., 217 

Pittsburg (Cal.) Post-Dispatch, 338 n 

Pittsburgh, Pa., 7, 10, 68, 89, 93, 96, 
122, 168, 385 

Pittsburgh Chronicle, 127 

Pittsburgh Daily American,, 93 

Pittsburgh Journal, 353 

Plain Dealer Beneficial Association, 

Plain Dealer ** Ironclads," 147 

Plain Dealer, New York, 19 

Plain Dealer Old Timers, 347 

Pkin Dealer Publishing Co., 121, 191, 
194, 220, 222 ff, 272, 307, 331 n, 
346, 348, 385, 390 

Pkin Dealers, London, 19 

Pkin Dealers, other, 20, 21 n 

Pkin Dealer, the: weekly edition ap- 
pears, 12; computing age of, 13; 
salutatory of 1842, 15; name dis- 
cussed by Gray, 16; prospectus, 17; 
politics of weekly, 17; name further 

considered, 19; first issue described, 
21; libel suits, 29; sentiment 
toward England, 47; becomes 
evening daily, 51; profession of 
faith, 53; circulation, 54; advocates 
annexation of Ohio City, 55; city 
printer, 55; supports Mexican War, 
55; praised by True Democrat, 56; 
demands more police, 57; on 
tariff and free trade, 57; condemns 
slavery, 58; explains causes of 
Democratic Party failures, 58; ab- 
sorbs the Times, 60; morning issue 
fails, 61; welcomes Artemus Ward 
to staff, 65; bids Artemus Ward 
farewell, 70; Artemus Ward pro- 
poses to buy, 71; speaks for mi- 
nority, 74; against political fusion, 
78; defends Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 
79; insists it led in local field against 
slavery, 80; condemns "black 
laws," 81; urges abolition in Dis- 
trict of Columbia, 81; sees preserva- 
tion of Union primary issue of war, 
81; opposes convention to discuss 
slavery, 81; favors Negro coloniza- 
tion, 82; half -interest conditionally 
offered for sale, 85; signs of pros- 
perity, 86; approaches Civil War in 
strong position, 88; Harris and the 
"rat-tail file," 93 ff; correspond- 
ents, 95; contracts with New York 
Associated Press, 97; 99; attacks 
editor of True Democrat, 101; 
opinion of the Leader, 102; Lead- 
er's characterization of, 103; culls 
Herald champion liar, 103; Sunday 
prize-fight extra, 106; calls Leader 
" sanctimonious old granny/* 107; 
praises opposition editor, 107; ac- 
cepts Buchanan's nomination, 111; 
tribute to Buchanan, 112; says Ohio 
Democrats are opposed to Lecomp- 
ton, 113; embarrassed by " Cleve- 
land " letter, 113; announces Gray's 
dismissal as postmaster, 115; sup- 
ports Douglas for president, 118; 
125, 129; offered for sale, 132; fore- 
sees disunion if Lincoln is elected, 
135; supports Lincoln, 135, 141; 
takes contemporaries to task for 
hampering war efforts, 142; rival 
paper threatened, 144; " revival of 
political discussion," 145; Union 



and the Constitution, 145; hails 
army at Gettysburg, 146; employees 
in Civil War, 147; supports Val- 
landigham for governor, 148; not 
for sale, 149; assailed by Leader for 
war attitude, 149; demands removal 
of Lincoln, 151; on Lincoln's last 
annual message, 152; on slavery, 
152; suspends, 152 ff; news events 
missed, 159; reappears, 160; on 
death of Lincoln, 162; " Born 
Again/' 163; thanks contempora- 
ries for welcome, 164; old name re- 
tained, 164ff; greeted by corre- 
spondent, 165; favors buildings on 
Square, 173; urges political inde- 
pendence, 174; difficulties in hos- 
tile community, 179 ff; bids Arm- 
strong good-by, 183; Morgan be- 
comes half owner, 187; varies size 
of page, 189, 189 n; Green becomes 
half owner, 190; opposes Fifteenth 
Amendment, 200; some Tilden 
" ifs," 204; sure Republican Party is 
dead, 207; decries low salaries for 
teachers, 212; warns against high 
real-estate prices, 212; denounces 
hoop skirts, 213; protests against 
fast driving, 215; elaborate cover- 
age of execution, 217; editor im- 
pressed by opulence observed in 
Buffalo, 218; skeptical of motor- 
car's future, 218; incorporates, 222; 
editors given office hours, 223; es- 
tablishes morning edition, 224 ff; 
denies sale to Tilden, 229; adopts 
quarto form, 230; offered for sale, 
231; three ownerships in 100 years, 
235; Holden-Arrnstrong contract to 
buy-sell the Plain Dealer, 237; capi- 
tal stock, 237 n; promises morning 
and Sunday edition, 239; buys as- 
sets of Herald, 242; morning edition, 
242; salutatory, 243; advocates har- 
bor of refuge, 254; argues for bimet- 
allism, 262; establishes Evening 
Post, 264, 296; Baker-Kennedy con- 
tract, 264, 272 ff; offers to buy, 
268 n; E. H. Baker's contribution 
to, 274 ff; gets leased wire service, 
275; varying attitude toward Tom 
L. Johnson, 283; supports Tayler 
pkn, 290; evening edition kgs, 295; 
abandons Post* 298; evening edition 

sold, 299; buys Cleveland Recorder, 
300 n, 324; buys morning Leader 
and Sunday News, 303; building 
destroyed by fire, 304, 308; migra- 
tions, 304 ff ; published from News 
office, 308; occupies livery stable, 
309; moves into first unit of new 
building, 309; new building en- 
larged, 310; spokesman for liberal- 
ism, 312 ff; and constitution of 
1912, 314; recommendation of 
candidates, 315; fights for granite 
for Federal Building, sane Fourth, 
316; supports city-manager plan, 
317; advocates abolition of govern- 
ment postoffices, 319 n; attitude 
toward Prohibition, 320; wins fight 
against, and buys Leader, 321 ff; 
woman's edition, 324; sponsors 
long-distance auto tours, 326 ff; 
circulation war with Leader, 328 ff ; 
" happy family atmosphere," 345 ff ; 
Beneficial Association, 346; Old 
Timers, 347 ff; retired payroll, 348; 
loans to employees, 349; mechani- 
cal helps, 361 ff; pioneer in news 
illustration, 366; on independent 
voting, 389; character of, 396 ff; 
influence attested by Los Angeles 
police chief, 397 

Plain Dealer, The, Wycherley's play, 

Plank roads, 10, 56; Herald sees a 
menace in, 214 

Polk, James K., 57, 59, 93, 113, 351, 

Pony Express, 90, 226, 353 

Pope, Byron, 223 ff 

Popular Sovereignty, 31, 79, 110, 145 

Population, 4, 55, 57, 166, 247, 247 n, 
248 ff, 260 

Porter, Robert P., 300 n 

Portland, Ore., 337 n 

Portsmouth, O., 6, 31 

Post, Lewis F., 324 

Postoffices, abolition urged, 319 n 

Post Publishing & Printing Co., 296 ff 

Potsdam, N. Y., 26 

Presbyterian Union, 106 

Prescott, George F., 238, 238 n 

Prescott, L. H., 238 

Presidential messages, importance of, 

Presses. 361 ff 



Printers* wages, 212 
Prison contract labor, 314 
Prize-fight extra, 106 
Prize-fight hoax, 325 
Prohibition, 252; Plain Dealer atti- 
tude toward, 320 
Pugh, George E., 148 n 
Punch, London, 72 
Put-in-Bay, 131, 136 

Rabat, Morocco, 341 n 

Radical Democracy, Plain Dealer re- 
turns to, 145; Vallandigham idol of, 

Radicals, Plain Dealer denounces, 198 

Radio, 359; Plain Dealer enters, 383 

Railroads, 7ff, 89; speed up news- 
gathering, 95 ff; 129, 169; Review 
defends passes for editors, 214; in 
Civil War, 353; 494 

Ralph, Julian, 326 

Ranney, Judge Rufus P., 157 ff 

" Rat match," 216 

** Rat-tail file," 93 ff 

Ravenna, O., 93 ff 

Raymond, Me., 257 

Real-estate prices, 212 

Reconstruction politics and policies, 
196 ff 

Reid, Whitelaw, 188 n 

Republican Party, 77, 104, 129, 165, 
174; Plain Dealer sure it is dead, 

Rhode Island, 10 

Rice, Harvey, 20, 157, 173 

Richmond, Va., 357 

Richmond (Va.) Inquirer, 357 

"Rip Van Winkle episode," 160 

Robertson, Carl T., 325; career, 341 ff 

Robertson, George A,, 300 n, 324, 
341 ff 

Robertson, Mrs. George A., 325, 341 

Robison, W. Scott, 94 n 

Rochester, N. Y., 90 

Rockefeller, John D., 98, 168, 240, 

Rockefeller Park, 251, 266 

Rockport House, 216 

Rockwell School, 26 

Rogers, George M., 373 ff, 384 

Rogers, James H., 344, 344 n 

Roland, John C., 222 ff, 237 

Roosevelt, Franklin D., Plain Dealer's 
attitude toward, 389 ff 

Roosevelt, Mrs. J. J., 119 n 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 302, 302 n, 314 
Rooster, party emblem, 175 n, 180 ff, 

205 ff 

Rose, William G., 178 n 
Rose, William Russell, 338, 338 n 
Ryder, James F., describes Artemus 

Ward, 66, 253 

Sacramento (Cal.) Union, 338 n 

St. Lawrence Academy, 26 

St. Lawrence County, N. Y., 24 ff; 

Gray pays tribute to, 31; 38, 41, 

158, 255 

St. Lawrence River, 25 
St. Lawrence Waterway, 318 
St. Louis, 95, 219 
St. Louis Exposition, 267 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 264, 271, 

271 n, 273 

St. Louis Republic, 338 
Salt Lake Academy, 266 
Salt Lake City, 97, 261 
Salt Lake Tribune, 238 
Sandusky, O., 43 ff, 64, 89, 129, 199 
Sane Fourth, Plain Dealer pioneer ad- 
vocate of, 317 

Sanford, Gen. A. S., 153, 159, 176, 305 
San Francisco, 327 
Santo Domingo, Plain Dealer against 

annexation of, 209 
Sargent, John H., 128 ff 
Saturday Pictorial World, 223 
Sawyer, Edwin, 223 
Schmidt, Herman J., 291, 291 n 
Schmidt, Thomas P., 291 n 
Schmidt Act, 290 
Schmidt traction grant, 291; Plain 

Dealer condemns, defeated, 292 
Schurz, Carl, 167 
Scripps, Edward W., 230 
Scripps-Howard newspapers, 385 
Security grant, 289; defeated at polls-, 


Seitz, Don C., 63 n 
Seneca Advertiser, 64, 158, 177, 180, 


Seneca County, 190, 236 
Seymour, Horatio, Plain Dealer hero, 

146, 203 

Shallengerger, J. M., 292 
Shanks, Charles B., 326 ff 
Shannon, Wilson, 10, 21, 76 
Sherwin & Williams, 250 



Sholes, Christopher Latham, 369 

Siddall, John M., 334 ff, 334 n 

Sigourney, Lydia Huntley, 21 n 

Silk hose, 214 

Sims, Elias, 240 

Slavery: Plain Dealer early to con- 
demn, 58; Gray accused of coward- 
ice, 77; Plain Dealer cites its own 
record, 80; Plain Dealers consistent 
opposition to, 80; Plain Dealer op- 
poses convention to discuss, 81; 
Democratic attitude on extension 
defined, 81; 110, 150; Plain Dealer 
accepts anti-slavery amendment, 
152, 200 

Smalley, E. V., 240 

Smith, Alfred E., 388 

Smith, J. J., 222 ff, 237 

Soldiers* and Sailors' Monument, 173, 

Some Newspapers and Newspaper- 
men, 73 

Sons of the American Revolution, 280 

South Carolina, 113 

South Charleston, O., 64 

Spanish American War, 351; report- 
ing of, 357 

Spargo, Mary P,, 252 

Spear, George, 127 

Spencer, T. P., 29, 59 ff, 93; defended 
by Times, 103, 231 

Springfield, 111., 4 n 

Stagecoaches, 7, 10, 89, 92 ff, 226, 493 

Standard Oil Co., 168, 207, 222, 248, 
329, 334 

Stanley, John, 287 

Starkweather, Samuel, 129, 157 

Stearns, Harold, 316 

Stearns, Isaac, 257 

Steele, Horace, 60 

Stephenson, John S., 71, 101, 121, 
127; administrator and editor, 139; 
career, 139ff; between two fires, 
140; 141 ff; veers away from sup- 
port of Lincoln, 143; declares war 
on Lincoln, 145; 150; removal as 
administrator asked by Mrs. Gray, 
153; resigns as administrator, 153; 
later activities and death, 153 n; 
158 ff, 160, 175, 202, 221, 305, 354 

Stereotype process, 365 ff 

Stevens, Thadeus, Plain Dealers and 
Leader's contrasting opinions of, 

Stillman Hotel, 253 

Stone, Amasa, 240, 252 n 

Storrs, Rev. Charles B., 76 

Stow, Thomas A., 127 ff, 147, 157 ff 

Street cars, 169; Plain Dealer urges 

heating of, 214; first electric, 250, 

250 n 

Street numbering, Cleveland's, 277 
Street paving, 4, 215 
Sunday newspapers, ministers war on, 

106, 323 
Superior Street ( Avenue ) : in 1842, 3; 

planked, 4; 65, 111, 126, 157, 159, 

170, 172, 178, 213, 253, 278, 304 n, 

305, 307, 309, 385, 402 
Sweeney, John S., 230 

Tacoma News-Tribune, 281 n 

Taft, William H., 302 n, 387 

Tallmadge and Rives, 109 

Tarbell, Ida M,, 334 

Tariff, 57, 283, 319 ff 

Tayler, Judge Robert W., 290 ff 

Tayler Plan, 285 ff, 292; adopted by 

Council, 293; opposed by Johnson, 

ratified at polls, 294 
Taylor, Zachary, 75 
Teachers' salaries, 283 
Telegraph: comes into existence with 

Plain Dealer, 96; reaches Cleve- 
land, 96; Plain Dealer pays tribute 

to, 97; 352 ff, 494 
Telephones, 218, 370 ff 
Teletype, 370 ff 
Texas Siftings, 124 
Texas war for independence, 187 
Thalheimer, H. S., 273 
Thirteenth Amendment, 152; Plain 

Dealer accepts, 200 
Thompson, Dr. O. W., 340 
Three-cent fare, 284 ff (and see 

Cleveland traction war); Plain 

Dealer attitude toward, 286, 289 
" Three tigers of the Cleveland press," 


Thumb, Tom, 10 
Thurman, Allen G., 203, 208, 238, 

272, 274, 276 
Tiffin, O., 64, 66, 129, 158 n, 174 ff, 

190, 236 ff, 259 
Tilden, Judge D, R., 139, 153 
Tilden, Samuel J,, 181, 195, 203 ff, 

208; reported to have bought Plain 

Dealer, 229; 306 



Tod, David, 41, 141, 148, 177 

Toledo, O., 65, 118, 121, 313, 385 

Toledo Commercial, 65 ff 

Toledo Democrat, 232 

Toronto, University of, 127 

Townsend, Helen De K., 325 

Traffic perils, 215 

Trimble, Gov, Allen, 6ff 

Tuscarawas River, 5 

Twain, Mark, 71, 71 n, 72 

"Two Wicked Editors" (cartoon), 


Tyler, John, 10, 76, 93, 386 
Typesetting by machinery, 364 ff 
Typewriters, 309, 369 

Uncolored news, 277, 277 n 
Uniform Municipal Code, 174 
Union, the: Plain Dealer says preser- 
vation of is prime issue of war, 81; 
135 ff, 141, 145, 161 
Union Club, Cleveland, 183, 287 
Union ticket in Ohio, the, 142 
United Press, 358, 358 n 
University Circle, 251, 266 
University College, Toronto, 127 
University of Michigan, 258, 353 
Utah, 238 ff, 260 ff 

Vallandigham, Clement L., 140; 
Gray's opinion of, 141; 146; Plain 
Dealer supports for governor, 148 ff ; 
148 n; leads Ohio Democrats in 
drawing curtain on war, 201 ff 

Van Anda, Carr V., 241 

Van Buren, J. A., 374, 379 

Vanity Fair, 63 n, 70 ff, 123, 172 

Van Sweringen, O. P., 331 n 

Van Wyck, Mayor, 326 

Velocipedes, 217 

Vermont, 24 ff, 30 

Villard, Oswald Garrison, 73 

Vineyard Street, 65, 126, 159, 170, 
178, 305 

Virginia Gazette, 366 

Voigtlander and 1, 67 n 

Vorpe, William G., 347, 378 

Wachter und Anzeiger, 167 n 
Wade, Benjamin F., 35, 198 n 
Wade, Edward, 35, 133 ff 
Wade, Jeptha H., 97, 240, 251 
Wade Park, 251, 266 
Wallace, Frederick T., 194 

Waldiam, Mass., 124 

Walz, Councilman, 292 

War of 1812, 25 

Ward, Artemus, 41; career, 62 ff; 
Brown becomes Browne, 63 n; ori- 
gin of pseudonym, 63 n; joins Plain 
Dealer staff, 65; starts show " bis- 
nes," 68; leaves Plain Dealer, 70; 
proposes to buy Plain Dealer, 71; 
death, 72; 91, 120 ff, 123, 126, 253, 
450 n 

Warner & Swasey, 250 

Warren, O., 231 

Washington, D. C,, 91, 95, 111, 151 

Washington, George, 5, 90 

Washington, Pa., 188 P 

Washington Union, 353 

Waterville College (now Colby Uni- 
versity), 258 

Watterson, Henry, 63 n 

Webster, Daniel, 10 

Weddell House, 141, 157 n, 305 

Weidenthal, Henry J., 335, 335 n 

Weidenthal, Leo, 335 

Weidenthal, Maurice, 335, 335 n 

Weisman, Russell, 258, 380 

Wellington, O., 129 

Wellsville, O., 7 

Wesleyan University, 192 

Western Reserve: transplanted New 
England, 10 ff; 40, 74; reliably 
Whig and anti-slavery, 76 ff; 79; 
Leader calls "Cradle of Liberty," 
83; Gray discusses politics and the 
press with Chase, 84; abolitionist 
majorities, 88; 93, 99 ff, 104, 137, 
140, 149, 158, 163, 165, 167, 179, 
231, 339 

Western Reserve College, 76, 252 

Western Reserve Historical Society, 
63, 266 

Western Reserve Seminary, 271 n 

Western Reserve University, 252, 258, 
336, 373 

Western Union Telegraph Co., 90, 
240, 369 

West Farmington, O., 271 u 

44 When You and I Were Young, Mag- 
gie," 127 

Whig Party, 10; attitude toward Mex- 
ican War, 56; in 1842, 75; 77; 
and the slavery issue, 79; 84, 133 

Whiggery, Plain Dealer a voice in the 
wilderness of, 88 



White, Mrs. Delia H., 374 

White, William J., 267 n 

Whitehead, David S., 147, 194 

Whitehead, George, 147 

Whitehead, R. Thomas, 147, 194, 222 

Whitlock, Brand, 313 

Wick Building, 254 

Wilbraham, Mass., 192 

Williams, Lewis B., 279, 279 n 

Williamson Building, 254 

William stown, Mass., 241 n 

Willis, N. P., 53 

Willkie, Wendell L., 274 n, 386; Plain 
Dealers most widely quoted edi- 
torial, 391 ff 

Willoughby, O., Medical College, 
124 n 

Willson, Hiram V., 20, 27, 32, 123, 

Wilmot, David, 83 n 

Wilmot Proviso, 59; Plain Dealer ap- 
proves, then condemns, 82; defined, 
83 n 

Wilson, Charles E., career, 126 

Wilson, Woodrow, on Plain Dealer 
name, 19 n;" 278, 312, 314 ff, 337, 
387 ff 

Windham, Conn., 4 

Windsor, Ontario, 148 

Winslow, A. P., 222 ff 

Winthrop, Gov,, 257 

Winton, Alexander, 250, 326 ff 

Wireless, 359 

Wirephoto, 98, 368, 368 n 

Woman's Edition, 324 

Woman Suffrage, Plain Dealer atti- 
tude toward, 209 ff, 314, 314 n 

" Wonderful decade," 246 ff 

Wood, Gov. Reuben, 8; J. W. Gray 
causes him to miss the presidency, 
33, 128 

Woodland Hills Reservoir, 254 

World Court, 319 

World War I, 342, 351; reporting of, 
359 ff 

World War II, Plain Dealer insists on 
American participation in, 319 

Wright, Ashabel, 26, 26 n 

Wright, N. C., 273 n 

Wright, Silas, 20, 30 ff; influence on 
J. W. Gray, 31, 32 n, 41 

Wycherley, William, 19 

Wyman, George H., 153 

Yale University, 192, 252 n 
Young, Brigham, 97 
Young, Jerome F., 223 
Younglove, M. C. & Co., 305 
Y.M.C.A., dedicates hall in E. H. 

Baker's memory, 280, 399 n 
Youngstown, O., 385 

ZanesviUe, O., 41 


The text of this book is set in Caledonia, a Linotype 
face designed by W. A. Dwiggins. Caledonia belongs 
to the -family of printing types called " modem face " 
by printers - a term used to mark the change in style 
of type-letters that occurred about 1800. Caledonia 
is in the general neighborhood of Scotch Modern in 
design, but is more freely drawn than that letter. 

Mr. Dwiggins contrived the typographic scheme 
and designed the binding and jacket The book was 
composed, printed, and bound by The Plimpton 
Press, Norwood, Massachusetts, 

128 634